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Principles for Peace 

Selections From Papal Documents 

Edited for the Bishops' Committee 

on the Pope's Peace Points 

By the Reverend Harry C. Koenig, S.T.D., 

Librarian, Saint Mary of the Lake Seminary, 

Mundelein, Illinois 

With a Preface 

By the Most Reverend Samuel A. Stritch, D.D., 
Archbishop of Chicago 

C*o T no // 





Bishops' Committee has designated the 
as e^sive distributor for the 





Pius XII 
with the prayer 


"peace, the work of justice," 

may be realized 

in our time. 


We are looking forward to garnering the full fruits of the hard- 
ships and sacrifices of war in a lasting and just world peace. "It 
must not happen again" are the words on the tongue of the common 
man, as he goes into the armed services, sweats in war industries, 
accepts the deprivations which war imposes. Word goes out that 
war production must be increased at the cost of longer hours, more 
acres must be sowed with reduced farm labor, women in greater 
numbers must go into the factories. News of casualties comes, there 
are stories of heroic bravery, the strength of the enemy is not con- 
cealed, perhaps years will be needed before victory comes. With 
grim determination, resolved to do his full loyal part, the common 
man faces hardships and sacrifices, whispering to himself: "It must 
not happen again." Once before since the turn of the century he 
engaged in war to outlaw war and to bring security to the nations. 
Something happened in the aftermath. He is not sure of just what 
did happen. Things which should have been done were not done, 
and things which should not have been done were done. He was 
disappointed. The seeds of the greatest war in history were allowed 
to germinate and grow. Somebody, something failed him. This 
time the common man is determined as he tells himself over and 
over: "It must not, it cannot happen again." And we have a duty to 
see to it that he is not disappointed again. This time we must make 
a peace which will give lasting security to all nations and peoples. 
It is hard to contemplate what would be the consequences of a failure 
at the peace-table when victory comes. There is the resolution in all 
of us : "It must not happen again." 

The Axis Powers offer a peace a sham peace. With immoral 
propaganda they deluded and deceived many thousands of men into 
accepting their proposals. When their propaganda failed, they em- 
ployed brute force to impose their wills on more thousands of un- 
willing, undeceived human beings. Even in their own countries 
great numbers are looking to us and not to them for a good peace. 
There is no hope of peace from the Axis Powers. They made much 



of national inequalities and the sorry state of the "have not" nations. 
Yet so great an authority as Pope Pius XII early after the first aggres- 
sions of the Axis Powers wrote: "The international problems in- 
volved were by no means insoluble." Whatever were the problems 
pressing on some nations, they could have been solved without war. 
Despite all efforts to preserve peace, the Nazi Party went to war. It 
did not conceal its objective of setting up by force a new world 
order in which a single nation would dominate and the other na- 
tions would be mere tributaries to its wealth and power. In this 
vaunted world order social and historic realities were forgotten, the 
moral law scoffed and even in the bosom of the privileged nation 
human rights denied. Let any student in full calmness and impar- 
tiality examine the proposal of the Axis and study the philosophy 
which inspires it, and he will be compelled to conclude that it holds 
no promise of world peace. We cannot look therefore to the Axis 
Powers for a contribution to the lasting and just world peace which 
honest men are looking forward to with the victory of our arms. 

Our own country has proclaimed its war objectives the defense 
of the four freedoms and the making of them the basis for neigh- 
borly international collaboration. This is the language of honest 
peacemakers. We recognize the rights of other nations, large and 
small, strong and weak. We have no ambition to dominate the 
world. Every nation has its own individuality, its own cultural in- 
heritance. We shall not attempt to impose our political institutions 
on other nations. We do believe however that there is a necessary 
common denominator in all national institutions and that is the 
recognition of basic native human rights under the moral law, and 
we intend to use our full international influence to securing men 
everywhere in their native rights. History has bestowed on us a 
great, grave world responsibility. We shall be a mighty force at the 
peace-table. Men everywhere are looking to us to give them a good 
peace. We dare not fail Even in the midst of war we are trying to 
make the plan of a peace which will offer lasting security. To us 
men look for a genuine peace and we must leave no stone unturned 
to give it to them when victory comes to our arms. 

It is easy to say that we want a good peace. There is no doubt 
about our sincerity and our purpose. The hard thing will be to 
formulate the good peace. Good will alone is not enough. There 
must be a deep understanding of the ills which afflict our world, a 



right evaluation of the problems of nations and peoples, a frank 
admission of past mistakes, a willingness to sacrifice seeming na- 
tional advantages beyond even the limit of justice. Antecedent to all 
this there must be a deep humility in the nations, particularly the 
powerful nations, a humility which is inconsistent with sordid 
national interests and frees the mind to discover reality in its full 
proportions. In the long story of the nations there have been many 
indefensible injustices and some of them cannot be righted fully at 
this time without added injustices. A willingness to forget historic 
hatreds and prejudices in the interest of a true peace must inspire 
the peace-makers. The task will be difficult but it is not impossible 
and it must be done. 

There are certain facts, truths and principles which must guide 
the peace-makers. In such an undertaking it is imperative that right 
principles be clearly understood and undeviatingly followed. Failure 
in the past was due in no little measure to the weakness of substitut- 
ing expediency for principle. It is not realistic, but fanciful, to depart 
from ageless truth. True, we are living in a world of men and must 
never forget human equations, and for that very reason we must 
keep our eyes always on true human values and not allow ourselves 
to drift into the unreal dreams of ideologies which obliterate these 
values. Nowhere do we find a clearer statement of the truths, facts 
and principles which are postulates in the making of a good peace 
than in the Statements of the Popes of our times. These Pontiffs, 
from Leo XIII to Pius XII, have stood above parties and apart from 
nationalisms, and yet nobody questions their knowledge of their 
times. Courageously they have pointed to sorry aberrations and un- 
falteringly they have indicated the path which leads to peace. When 
their warnings were not heeded, they did not desist in their admoni- 
tions and condemnations and pleadings. In the light of events the 
warnings of these Popes now read like the language of prophecy. 
We need these Statements on peace and the conditions for peace. 
Unfortunately they are scattered through many letters, allocutions, 
addresses and messages. 

To meet a real need, scholars under the sponsorship of The 
Bishops' Committee on the Pope's Peace Points have gathered them 
together and now offer them to the public in a single volume. Here 
we shall find carefully indexed these Statements which are a clear 
exposition of truths, facts and principles for the making of a good 




peace. Some may be disappointed in finding that these Statements 
are not detailed specific applications of principles to particular politi- 
cal problems of our times. They forget that the Church recognizes 
and defends the independence and sovereignty of the State in its 
own sphere and that the Popes do not enter the domain of statesmen. 
They are the witnesses of religious and moral truth. Peace involves 
this truth and the Popes have spoken within their own sphere, leav- 
ing to statesmen to add what is purely social, purely political. And 
yet it must not be understood that the Popes have merely enunciated 
abstract moral principles which have to do with peace. Courageously 
they have taught these principles in the language of the changing 
experiences of nations and individuals. These Statements offer a 
practical guide for the peace-makers who will seek to give the world 
a lasting and just peace. 

Pope Pius XII on Christmas Eve offered to the nations his Five- 
Point Peace Plan. This plan delineates in broad outline a good 
peace. Great interest has been shown in it throughout the world 
and it has been imbedded in the studies of serious, able students and 
in the pronouncements of many groups on the peace. Much of what 
is in it is a statement of the moral law for international life, and its 
proposals for international security are fully consonant with the dic- 
tates of justice and national sovereignty. Christian truth permeates 
it, and it may be called the Christian plan for peace. To understand 
it, something more than a reading of the text is necessary. It calls 
back to the many Statements of the Popes on peace for a proper 
interpretation. These Statements strongly defend native human 
rights, assert the dignity of man, inculcate the social derivations from 
human personality, defend against racists and tribalists the unity of 
the human race, vindicate the moral law in all human relations, so- 
cial, political and international, denounce the usurpation by the 
State of authority to dominate all human behavior under the tyran- 
nical claim that it is the sole source of all rights, call for the freedom 
and dignity of the family, and postulate Christian brotherhood in 
our dealing with all peoples. They point out the errors in political 
systems which threaten tyranny and oppression. When the Pope's 
Peace Plan is read and studied in the light of these Statements, it is 
clear that it offers to statesmen a safe guide in formulating the peace 
in justice and charity which we are demanding as the fruits of our 
victory. Our own peace aims, which are enunciated only in large 


outline, are complemented and supplemented by the papal plan. Not 
only is there no contradiction between our aims and the papal plan, 
but that plan comprehends our aims and gives them the weight of 
sound philosophy and moral right. It is hoped that this volume will 
be a distinct contribution to the making and enduring of a good 
world peace. 

>5& Samuel A. Stritch, 

Archbishop of Chicago, 
Chairman, Bishops' Committee on the 
Pope's Peace Points. 




Preface vii 

Introduction xv 

I. Leo XIII i 

II. Pius X i TO 

III. Benedict XV 126 

IV. Pius XI 318 
V. Pius XII 552 

List of Documents 807 

Bibliography 821 

Index 828 



At some future hour, known now only to God, a group of states- 
men will take their places around a conference table and hammer 
out a treaty designed to settle the staggering problems of a world 
torn apart by years of bitter war. When that hour strikes, what role 
will the pope play in forging that instrument which will decisively 
determine the character of the post-war world? 

Will the pope remain a complete outsider, a mere bystander? In 
the Peace of Paris at the end of the last war, ' Benedict XV, by 
explicit provision of the secret Treaty of London, was deliberately 
excluded from having any voice in the peace settlement. The Treaty 
of Versailles, with all its short-sighted ineptness, can be laid squarely 
at the doorstep of self-sufficient secular statesmanship. Will the 
mind of the men of Versailles live again at the end of the present 
conflict? Or will their disastrous failure to achieve a lasting peace 
so chasten the leaders of the world that in the coming peace settle- 
ment the unique competence and vision and disinterestedness of the 
pope will be allowed to help mould a document wiser than that 
signed in the Hall of Mirrors in 1919 ? 

Today these questions come to the lips not only of Catholics- 
some three hundred million strong, in every nation under heaven 
but of all men of good will, men who are fired with a determination 
that this time no avenue will remain unexplored in the quest for a 
peace that will end forever the horror and bloodshed under which 
mankind has groaned these many years. 

Fourteen years ago Pius XI defined the stand which the Papacy 
itself will take toward participating in the conference. In the Lateran 
Treaty of 1929 he wrote: "The Holy See declares that it wishes to 
remain and will remain extraneous to all temporal disputes between 
nations, and to national congresses convoked for the settlement of 
such disputes, unless the contending parties make a joint appeal to 
its mission of peace; nevertheless, it reserves the right in every case 
to exercise its moral and spiritual power." In broad principle, then, 
the stand of the papacy is clear: the pope will play only that part 
which victors and vanquished assign him. But precisely what will 
that part be? 



To anyone sincerely concerned with the establishment of a just 
and lasting peace, it is inconceivable that the peacemakers will spurn 
the invaluable contribution which the pope can make toward the 
settlement of the deep problems that lie at the roots of modern 
political and social disorder. For the past sixty-five years the Church 
has been uninterruptedly blessed with magnificent leadership almost 
without parallel in its history. During these years five great men 
have sat on the throne of Peter and each has tried with the assistance 
of Almighty God and the best minds in Christendom to plan the 
construction of an order based on justice and charity. 

These popes were not untried in the field of statesmanship. They 
came to the papacy experienced in the intricate problems of contem- 
porary Europe. Leo XIII was a career diplomat and had served as 
Nuncio to Belgium; Benedict XV was secretary to the Nuncio to 
Spain, and for many years assistant secretary of state; Pius XI was 
Nuncio to Poland during the trying reconstruction period at the 
close of the last war; and the present Holy Father, Pius XII, has 
spent the entire forty-odd years of his priesthood in the diplomatic 
service of the Church. 

During the years of their pontificates they enjoyed avenues of 
information that have no counterpart among secular governments. 
The pope is, indeed, served by a highly capable diplomatic force all 
over the world; but far beyond that, he is the spiritual father of 
three hundred million Catholics who come to him for guidance; 
he is the trusted confidant of countless bishops and priests who 
minister to his flocks. No one else in the world is in as advantageous 
a position to feel the pulse of mankind as is the Holy Father. 
Among rulers he is unique in that his viewpoint is as broad as the 
world itself, charged as he is before God with the welfare not of 
one nation, or a group of nations, but of all nations. Victor, van- 
quished, great nation, tiny principality, soldier, civilian, statesman, 
citizen, Englishman, Italian, German, Frenchman, American, Rus- 
sianall look to him as their father in Christ, and hi? is the respon- 
sibility before God of thinking, planning, caring for all; irrespective 
of nation or language or class. 

To harvest the accumulated wisdom of these past sixty-five years 
during which each of the five popes was deeply concerned with the 
problem of peace; to make the riches of that wisdom available to 
the English-speaking world; to reveal to all men the incalculable 



help the popes can offer in the making of a lasting peace these are 
the aims of this book. Within its covers lies the mature thought of 
the five popes on the issues which, unsolved, have turned Europe 
into a vast mire of blood and devastation. The book aims to make 
the principles for the solution of those problems accessible to all 
concerned with building a new and better world. 

This is not a book for the faint-hearted. Dealing for the most 
part with general principles rather than with concrete situations, it 
sometimes makes hard, slow reading. Most of the documents are 
given only in part, since the complete text would require a book of 
unmanageable proportions. Translated from Latin or one of the 
modern European languages, some of the selections still retain traces 
of the original idiom which may seem strange to one who is accus- 
tomed to the terseness and directness of English; .a more perfect 
rendition into English would have required more time than was 
available. Nevertheless, the inherent value of the doctrine itself and 
the realization of the unthinkable calamity in store for a world that 
refuses to find a solution for the problems herein analyzed will 
more than encourage the sincere student to bear with the hardships 
involved in reading the text. 

As the reader becomes more thoroughly acquainted with these 
documents and appreciates more and more the skill, the confidence 
with which the popes attack the issues involved in the establishment 
of an enduring peace, the conviction will deepen that herein the 
popes, as pastors of souls, are dealing with matters entirely within 
the scope of their authority. The pope's province is, of course, not 
politics; neither is it diplomacy, nor international relations, nor 
economics as such. His province is faith and morals. But only the 
most shallow of minds would refuse to admit deep moral implica- 
tions in the issues that today disturb the tranquillity of society. Prob- 
lems that in one generation led to the slaughter of eight and a half 
million men, to impoverishment, suffering, and hatred without 
precedent in history, and that less than a quarter of a century after- 
wards flared up anew with consequences which will probably be 
much more catastrophicthese problems fall squarely within the 
jurisdiction of the pope as spiritual and moral leader. And any 
hollow accusation that the pope in outlining a peace program is 
interfering in a sphere foreign to his office cannot stand up under 



There are four general characteristics o the peace documents 
that merit the reader's attention. 

First, there is the broad sweep, the all-embracing nature of the 
solution offered by the popes. The many languages from which the 
documents were translated help to emphasize the universality of 
the papal peace proposals. The pope is planning not for one nation, 
not for any favored group of nations, but for all the wide world. 
The documents themselves are the most eloquent refutation of any 
charge that the pope is not genuinely neutral and impartial, that 
he forgets that he is the common father of all belligerents. On the 
other hand, the pages that follow illustrate strikingly the pope's 
solicitude for those nations that are the victims of injustice. There is 
no hesitation on his part in springing to the defense of any nation 
that has been unjustly invaded or attacked, no timidity in castigat- 
ing the perpetrator of evil, no matter who he may be. More than 
once the popes have explicitly condemned aggressor nations. 

It is not merely "peace in our time" that the popes desire, but 
peace for all time. It is not merely order that the popes work for, 
nor merely the absence of war; it is deep, lasting, internal peace 
founded on Christian charity and justice. The papal principles aim 
not merely at a more stable political order, a more equitable eco- 
nomic order; they aim at a thoroughly Christian human order. 
Their program is not merely an assortment of isolated, unconnected 
suggestions for reform; it is a completely integrated program of 
political, social, economic principles based on natural law and 
Christian revelation. It is a radical program; it goes down deep to 
the roots of modern disorder. The popes will not rest satisfied 
merely with a surface redistribution of territory, a "working agree- 
ment" among nations; the popes call for a change deep in the hearts 
of men if there is to be any lasting peace. 

Secondly, the reader will be impressed by the essential unity, the 
continuity of the pronouncements made by all five popes. It would 
be inaccurate to think of a distinct peace plan of Leo XIII, or one 
of Benedict XV, or one of Pius XIL As Archbishop Stritch has said 
recently, there is one papal peace plan, a plan of all popes. Through 
the doctrines and pronouncements of the five popes there runs an 
unmistakable oneness in principle, a reiteration of the same basic 
tenets. Linked with this essential unity, however, is a gradual de- 
velopment, a greater clarification and unfolding, a growth as the 



principles come to be applied to new issues. The more complete 
industrialization of modern society, the startling advance of technical 
science in the past sixty-five years, the invention of the airplane and 
its ever-increasing use as a weapon of warfare, the adoption of new 
military tactics, the historical evolution of individual nations these 
factors raise new moral issues; and the intimate contact of the 
papacy with the realities of the ever-changing world scene is re- 
flected in the new problems attacked by later popes. 

A hasty glance at the index in the back of the book will reveal 
how well the popes have remained abreast of the times. It will help, 
too, in making the reader realize the timeliness of the problems 
treated in these pages. These men did not live with their eyes 
turned back toward the Middle Ages; their concerns were the issues 
of the hour. "May an invading airplane force bomb a city? May 
poison gas ever be used as an instrument of warfare? To what 
degree is sabotage, boycotting, licit? May one nation apply sanc- 
tions against another ? Is there an obligation on the part of a nation 
to join an international organization such as the League of Nations, 
should such an organization be founded at the end of the present 
war ? What are the obligations of a victor nation in occupying con- 
quered territory? Should reparations be exacted from aggressor 
nations?" These are but a few of the many perplexing questions 
upon which the popes speak out in this volume. 

Thirdly, the popes with superhuman vision and accuracy recog- 
nized long years in advance the conflicts that would inevitably arise 
if dangerous injustices, inequalities, points of friction were not elim- 
inated. It is difficult for the reader not to pause occasionally to 
speculate on what a different course modern history would have 
taken if the nations of Europe had given the papal suggestions the 
attention which they deserved. If, for instance, the social reforms 
suggested by Leo XIII had been achieved, would the Socialism of 
the nineteenth century have spawned the Communist monster of 
today ? If the peace proposals of Benedict XV had been used as the 
basis of the Peace of Paris rather than the selfish nationalism of the 
men of Versailles, would the world have gone to war a second time? 
If Pius XFs early warnings about the dangers inherent in the totali- 
tarian doctrines of Communism, Fascism, and Nazism had been 
heeded and steps had been taken to correct the evils that made the 
growth o these menaces almost inevitable, would our generation 



have witnessed such outrages to human dignity as blood purges and 
concentration camps? If the rulers of nations had cooperated with 
the valiant diplomatic efforts of Pius XII during the spring and 
summer of 1939 and had agreed to solve their problems around a 
conference table rather than out on a battlefield, would not the crisis 
of our age be today much closer to a solution instead of having 
grown more acute through four years of warfare? 

With these thoughts in mind, one cannot but pause to wonder 
how the statesmen of Europe can possibly spurn again the voice of 
the pope as he outlines a structure for the new Christian order in 
Europe. The tragic consequences of such a course of action are un- 

Fourthly, there runs through papal teaching on peace a note of 
optimism, of hope. In days when so many masters in Israel are 
throwing up their hands in despair and pronouncing the chaos 
utterly hopeless, it is indeed consoling to find someone who has the 
grasp of the situation and the authority that belongs only to the 
pope, and yet who is confident that the problems are capable of 
solution if only adequate remedies are applied without stint or delay. 
Yes, say the popes, the problems are staggering; the obstacles are 
mountainous. But, they say, we can yet save the day if only we are 
sufficiently wise, sufficiently Christian, sufficiently courageous, suffi- 
ciently trustful in Divine Providence to apply the means at our dis- 
posal toward an immediate unraveling of the problems that have 
created our modern crisis. 

Along with clarifying the principles for peace these documents tell 
an inspiring story of long years of earnest effort on the part of the 
popes to stave off threatened wars, to alleviate the suffering of the 
wounded and imprisoned during wartime, to locate civilians sep- 
arated from their families in the confusion of battle. The popes 
are not mere doctrinaires whose contributions to peace never pass 
beyond the realm of ideas; they search for opportunity to practice 
the principles of justice and mercy which they preach to others. No 
one can read the history of papal arbitration and mediation that 
emerges from this volume without realizing the hard-headed wis- 
dom displayed by the papacy in settling international disputes. 
Bismarck, certainly no friend of the Holy See, was yet shrewd 
enough and unprejudiced enough to recognize the unique qualifica- 
tions of the pope as arbiter, and asked Leo XIII in 1885 to arbitrate 



the quarrel between Germany and Spain over the Caroline Islands 
in the Pacific. The willing acceptance of the pope's decision in this 
and in similar instances stamps the papacy as an ideal instrument of 
arbitration an historical fact which the statesmen of our day might 
well bear in mind for the future when problems will inevitably arise 
and clamor for a solution which only arbitration or mediation can 

Besides the documents of which the popes themselves were au- 
thor, the editor has included those letters which were issued officially 
by the papal secretary of state. The intimate association of the 
cardinal secretary with the pope seemed adequate warrant for con- 
sidering these documents truly papal and an integral part of the 
papal plan although originally they appeared over the signature of 
the secretary of state. 

Although no effort was spared to collect all the documents, the 
collection still remains somewhat incomplete. Throughout the com- 
pilation of the book the editor felt the restrictions imposed by war. 
He was limited to the resources of American libraries. During these 
last months it has grown increasingly difficult to obtain issues of 
the Acta Apostolicae Sedis and the Osservatore Romano. In spite 
of all these limitations, however, to publish whatever was available 
and hence to make the papal peace plan accessible now when it is 
needed so desperately seemed a much wiser policy than to wait till a 
later day when possibly the collection of documents might have 
been more nearly complete. 

In an endeavor to present the papal doctrine on peace in all its 
fullness, the editor has also included many documents in which 
the popes take up problems which are not so obviously related to 
peace, such as the nature and extent of human rights, the problems 
of social and economic reform, the internal constitution of states. 
At first glance some of these problems might seem outside the scope 
of a volume on peace; on closer analysis, however, the irrelevance 
will prove only superficial The papal program, we have said, is a 
radical program; and the popes in elucidating, for instance, the na- 
ture of human rights were aiming directly at the heart of modern 
disorder: the denial of man's inherent dignity and inviolable rights 
as son of God and brother of Christ. This error was the source 
from which much of the social chaos of the past proceeded; it lies 
today at the core of the totalitarian ideologies, whether of the Com- 



munist, Nazi, or Fascist variety. A clarification of the rights of man 
is an integral part of the papal peace plan, for this doctrine is the 
foundation upon which any rational, Christian plan for reconstruc- 
tion can be built. 

More apparent, probably, will be the reason for including the 
popes' program for social and economic reform. Pius XII, in the 
motto of his pontificate, Pax opus justitiae, emphasizes the necessary 
connection between the attainment of justice and the achievemenjt of 
peace; peace demands the rooting out of injustice not only among 
nations but between the social classes within the nation itself. In a 
radio address to the Catholics of Spain on April 16, 1939, Pius XII 
reaffirmed a conviction many times expressed by his predecessors 
when he said that social reform was indispensable to enduring peace. 
"We especially exhort the rulers and the pastors of Catholic Spain," 
he said, "to illumine the minds of those led astray . . . putting be- 
fore them the principles of individual and social justice contained 
in the Holy Gospel and in the doctrine of the Church, without 
which the peace and prosperity of nations, however powerful, cannot 

In selecting the material the editor tried to include documents 
concerning as many countries as possible, to emphasize not only the 
world-wide range of the popes' fatherly solicitude, but also their 
understanding of the problems that face modern man in every 
quarter of the globe. Neither the pastoral mission of the popes nor 
their grasp of current issues tolerates any frontiers. These pages re- 
veal a mind and heart in touch with the suffering of mankind from 
Finland in the Baltic across the world to sub-equatorial New 
Zealand, from the Republic of Chile in the Andes of South America 
back to Poland and Russia. We cannot too often stress this unique 
catholicity of outlook on the part of the papacy. It springs from a 
vision as universal as the light of the sun. 

The book is composed of five parts, each part presenting the 
pronouncements of one of the five popes. The five pontificates and 
the messages of each pope are arranged in chronological order. Each 
of the selections is headed by a brief phrase, the words with which 
the complete document begins in the original text. This is the tradi- 
tional practice used to designate papal writings, and has been fol- 
lowed throughout the volume, the only exceptions being those 
instances, particularly among the more recent papal statements, 



when it was impossible to obtain the original document. Before the 
actual text the editor has given a brief summary of its contents in 
English, that the reader might learn in a glance the matter of which 
the pronouncement treats. 

The documents are, of course, not given in full; of necessity only 
the pertinent passages of each could be included. Omissions have 
been indicated by periods, three for the omission of less than a para- 
graph, six for a paragraph or more. The English versions have been 
gathered from many sources; they are not all of the same quality. 
Whenever a translation was borrowed from the work of another 
author, the source is indicated. Lack of reference to a source is indi- 
cation that the translation given herein is original. Much more time 
might have been spent in polishing the language of the translations, 
since not a few of them bear traces of the original idiom; however, 
the urgency of getting the papal doctrine into the hands of men now 
when it can do the most good rendered further improvement im- 
possible. The editor has compared the various translations with the 
original and presents these as faithful and, in his opinion, the best 
available at the moment. It is the hope of the Bishops' Committee 
to publish a second volume in which the original documents will be 
placed in the hands of scholars. 

The heart of the papal plan, the sine qua non for its success is a 
spirit of Christian cooperation; no plan for peace, no matter how 
wise or sublime, can ever pass into the realm of reality unless nations 
are willing to cooperate with other nations, groups with other 
groups, men with their fellow men. If the cooperation given the 
editor in the task of compiling this book could be taken as a gauge 
of that spirit among men today, the days of enduring peace would 
not be far off. Of necessity he called on the kindness of many 
friends in collecting and translating these documents and in pre- 
paring them for publication. The generosity with which all con- 
tributed their services has been most heartening. The list of those 
to whom he stands in debt is too long to allow personal mention 
of each name; there are some names, however, that must be singled 
out for special acknowledgment. 

The first debt of gratitude is owed to His Excellency, Archbishop 
Stritch of Chicago, Chairman of the Bishops' Committee on the 
Pope's Peace Points. A life-long student of the papal encyclicals, 
Archbishop Stritch saw the need for this book; it was at his sugges- 



tion that the editor took up the task of compiling it. Together with 
the Most Reverend James Ryan, Bishop of Omaha, and the Most 
Reverend Aloysius Muench, Bishop of Fargo, his colleagues on the 
Committee, Archbishop Stritch is responsible for the publication of 
Principles for Peace. 

A special word of thanks is due to the Catholic Association for 
International Peace, particularly to the Reverend Raymond Me- 
Gowan and to Miss Catherine Schaefer who generously made all 
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original English translations the editor is indebted to Dr. Martin 
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associates, the Reverend John Gavigan, O.S.A., of Villanova College, 
the Reverend Hermengeld Dressier, O.F.M., of Saint Joseph's Col- 
lege, Sister M. Dominic Ramaccioti, S.S.N.D., Dean of the College 
of Notre Dame of Maryland, Sister Jerome Keeler, O.S.B., of the 
College of Mount Saint Scholastica, Dr. Alessandro S. Crisafulli of 
the Catholic University of America, and Dr. Regina Soria of the 
College of Notre Dame of Maryland. The Right Reverend Mon- 
signor Francis J. Haas of the Catholic University of America kindly 
consented to the use of his translations of Rerum Novarum and 
Quadragesima Anno. 

In the task of preparing the book for print the editor received 
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rector of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Reverend 
Austin Schmidt, S.J., of the Loyola University Press, the Reverend 
Michael O'Connell, C.M., of De Paul University, the Reverend John 
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setts, and Miss Kathryn Harrold of the Catholic Historical Review. 
The latest 1942 numbers of the Acta Apostolicae Sedis were made 
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search the edition was helped considerably by the Reverend Joseph 
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Sincere appreciation is expressed to the following publishers for 
granting permission to quote from their publications. Benziger 
Brothers: The Great Encyclical Letters of Pope Leo XIII; The Life 
and Acts of Pope Leo XIII } by Joseph E. Keller. Central Bureau 
Press: Directives for Catholic Action, by James D. Loeffler. John 
Figgord: Benedict XV, the Pope of Peace, by Henry E. G. Rope. 
Franciscan Herald Press: Rome Hath Spoken. Harcourt, Brace & 
Co.: The Pope Speaks. B. Herder Co.: The Encyclicals of Pius XL 
The Macmillan Co.: The Peace Conference at the Hague, by Fred- 
erick W. Hoik John C. Winston Co.: Pope Leo XIII, by Bernard 
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tional Peace and the Catholic Truth Society of England have 
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Record; National Catholic Welfare Conference News Service; The 
New World (Chicago); The Sword of the Spirit Bulletin; The 
Tablet (London). 






A TALL, ascetic-looking nobleman of profound scholarship and 
forty-odd years' experience in diplomacy and administration, 
a penetrating student of his own times, at home in the field 
of social theory as well as in philosophy and literature, brilliant, 
vigorous, sympathetic yet uncompromising this was Gioacchino 
Vincenzo Cardinal Pecci, who in 1878 came to the Chair of Peter 
after the stormy pontificate of Pius IX. 

Born in Carpineto on March 2, 1810, the future Leo XIII had 
been schooled by the Jesuits first at Viterbo, later at the Roman 
College. On the completion of his studies at the Sapienza and the 
Pontificia Accademia dei Nobili Ecclesiastici, he was ordained in, 
1837 and launched on a diplomatic career that took him to Bene- 
vento in the Kingdom of Naples as papal governor in 1838, to 
Perugia as Apostolic Delegate in 1841, to Brussels as Nuncio with 
the dignity of archbishop in 1843. Recalled from Brussels in 1846, 
he was appointed Bishop of Perugia, where he remained for thirty- 
one years. Created cardinal in 1853, ne came to Rome as Camerlengo 
in 1877, and was elected pope on February 20, 1878. 

At Leo's accession the voice of the pope carried little weight in 
the courts and universities of Europe, caught up in the aftermath 

of the French Revolution and nineteenth century liberalism. 
Resolutely, Leo set out to effect a rapprochement, pursuing a bold 
policy of energetic initiative to bring the saving force of Christianity 
to bear on the critical problems raised by a century of revolution. 
In diplomacy, in scholarship, in social reform his success was brilliant. 

Diplomat par excellence, Leo happily witnessed the end of 
Bismarck's Kultur^ampf against the Church in Germany, the re- 
establishment of diplomatic -relations with the Czar of Russia, a 
growing friendliness with England and the United States. The 
fears of French Catholics in supporting a republican form of gov- 
ernment, he ended decisively in 1891 by advocating openly the 
Ralliement policy, a rallying of French Catholics to the legitimate 
republican government. Twice he was asked to arbitrate inter- 
national disputes, and was invited by Nicholas II of Russia to 
participate in the First Hague Conference. 

In 1880 his encyclical Aeterni Patris restored to Catholic schools 
the philosophia pcrcnnis of Thomas Aquinas. In 1881 he opened 
the doors of the hitherto secret Vatican archives to scholars of every 
creed and nation. "Go back as far as you can," he told historians. 
"We are not afraid of the publication of documents." Christian 
archaeology, Scripture, the writings of Dante won countless new 
devotees through Leo's encouragement. 

A life-long interest in the cause of the exploited workingman 
was crowned by his magnificent defense of labor, Rerum Novarum, 
issued in 1891, a document proclaimed as the Magna Charta of 
labor, earning for its author the title, 'Tope of the Workingman." 

Leo's death on July 20, 1903, after twenty-five years in the papacy, 
found the prestige of Peter greater than it had been in generations. 



The endless sources of disagreement, whence arise civil 
strife, ruthless war and bloodshed, have their cause 
chiefly in the fact that the authority of the Church has 
been despised and set aside. 

April 21, 1878 

i For, from the very beginning of Our Pontificate, 

the sad sight has presented itself to Us of the evils by which the 
human race is oppressed on every side: the widespread subversion of 
the primary truths on which, as on its foundations, human society is 
based; the obstinacy of mind that will not brook any authority how- 
ever lawful; the endless jiources of disagreement, whence arrive civil 
strife, and ruthless war and bloodshed; the contempt of law which 
moulds characters and is the shield of righteousness; the insatiable 
craving for things perishable, with complete forgetfulness of things 
eternal, leading up to the desperate madness whereby so many 
wretched beings, in all directions, scruple not to lay violent hands 
upon themselves; the reckless mismanagement, waste, and misap- 
propriation of the public funds; the shamelessness of those who, 
full of treachery, make semblance of being champions of country, 
of freedom, and every kind of right; in fine, the deadly kind of 
plague which infects society in its inmost recesses, allowing it no 
respite and foreboding ever fresh disturbances and final disaster. 

2. Now, the source of these evils lies chiefly, We are convinced, 
in this, that the holy and venerable authority of the Church, which 
in God's name rules mankind, upholding and defending all lawful 
authority, has been despised and set aside. The enemies of public 
order, being fully aware of this, have thought nothing better suited 
to destroy the foundations of society than to make an unflagging 
attack upon the Church of God, to bring her into discredit and 
odium by spreading infamous calumnies, and accusing her of being 

1 Translation from The Great Encyclical Letters of Pope Leo XIII, pp. 9-16. Original 
Latin, A.S.S., v. 10, pp. 585-589 (1878). 

[3-4] LEO XI11 

opposed to genuine progress. They labor to weaken her influence 
and power by wounds daily inflicted, and to overthrow the authority 
of the Bishop of Rome, in whom the abiding and unchangeable 
principles of right and good find their earthly guardian and 
champion. . . . 

3. It is perfectly clear and evident, Venerable Brothers, that the 
very notion of civilization is a fiction of the brain if it rest not on 
the abiding principles of truth and the unchanging laws of virtue 
and justice, and if unfeigned love knit not together the wills of 
men, and gently control the interchange and the character of their 
mutual service. Now, who would make bold to deny that the 
Church, by spreading the Gospel throughout the nations, has 
brought the light of truth amongst people utterly savage and 
steeped in foul superstition, and has quickened them alike to recog- 
nize the Divine Author of nature and duly to respect themselves? 
Further, who will deny that the Church has done away with the 
curse of slavery and restored men to the original dignity of their 
noble nature; and by uplifting the standard of Redemption in all 
quarters of the globe, by introducing, or shielding under her pro- 
tection, the sciences and arts, by founding and taking into her 
keeping excellent charitable institutions which provide relief for 
ills of every kind has throughout the world, in private or in 
public life, civilized the human race, freed it from degradation, 
and with all care trained it to a way of living such as befits the 
dignity and the hopes of man? And if any one of sound mind 
compare the age in which We live, so hostile to religion and to the 
Church of Christ, with those happy times when the Church was 
revered as a mother by the nations, beyond all question he will 
see that Our epoch is rushing wildly along the straight road to 
destruction; while in those times which most abounded in excellent 
institutions, peaceful life, wealth, and prosperity the people showed 
themselves most obedient to the Church's rule and laws. Therefore, 
if the many blessings We have mentioned, due to the agency and 
saving help of the Church, are the true and worthy outcome of 
civilization, the Church of Christ, far from being alien to or 
neglectful of progress, has a just claim to all men's praise as its 
nurse, its mistress and its mother. 

4. Furthermore, that kind of civilization which conflicts with 
the doctrines and laws of holy Church is nothing but a worthless 


imitation and a meaningless name. Of this, those peoples on whom 
the Gospel light has never shone afford ample proof, since in their 
mode of life a shadowy semblance only of civilization is discover- 
able, while its true and solid blessings have never been possessed. 
Undoubtedly that cannot by any means be accounted the perfection 
of civilized life which sets all legitimate authority boldly at defiance; 
nor can that be regarded as liberty which, shamefully and by the 
vilest means, spreading false principles, and freely indulging the 
sensual gratification of lustful desires, claims impunity for all crime 
and misdemeanor, and thwarts the goodly influence of the worthiest 
citizens of whatsoever class. Delusive, perverse and misleading as 
are these principles, they cannot possibly have any inherent power 
to perfect the human race and fill it with blessing, for sin maJ(eth 
nations miserable? 1 Such principles, as a matter of course, must 
hurry nations, corrupted in mind and heart, into every kind of 
infamy, weaken all right order, and thus, sooner or later, bring 
the standing and peace of the State to the very brink of ruin. 

5. Again, if We consider the achievements of the See of Rome, 
what can be more wicked than to deny how much and how well 
the Roman Bishops have served civilized society at large ? For Our 
Predecessors, to provide for the peoples' good, encountered struggles 
of every kind, endured to the utmost burdensome toils, and never 
hesitated to expose themselves to most dangerous trials. With eyes 
fixed on heaven, they neither bowed down their head before the 
threats of the wicked, nor allowed themselves to be led by flattery 
or bribes into unworthy compliance. This Apostolic Chair it was 
that gathered and held together the crumbling remains of the old 
order of things; this was the kindly light by whose help the culture 
of Christian times shone far and wide; this was an anchor of safety 
in the fierce storms by which the human race has been convulsed; 
this was the sacred bond of union that linked together nations 
distant in region and differing in character; in short, this was a 
common center from which was sought instruction in faith and 
religion, no less than guidance and advice for the maintenance of 
peace and the functions of practical life. In very truth it is the glory 
of the Supreme Pontiffs that they steadfastly set themselves up as 
a wall and a bulwark to save human society from falling back into 
its former superstition and barbarism. 

* Proverbs, XLV, 34. 

[6-8] LEO X.III 

6. Would that this healing authority had never been slighted 
or set aside! Assuredly neither would the civil power have lost 
that venerable and sacred glory, the lustrous gift of religion, which 
alone renders the state of subjection noble and worthy of man; nor 
would so many revolutions and wars have been fomented to ravage 
the world with desolation and bloodshed; nor would kingdoms, 
once so flourishing, but now fallen from the height of prosperity, 
lie crushed beneath the weight of every kind of calamity. . . . 

7. ... At the same time We address Ourselves to princes 
and chief rulers of the nations, and earnestly beseech them in the au- 
gust name of the most high God, not to refuse the Church's 'aid, 
proffered them in a season of such need, but with united and 
friendly aims to join themselves to her as the source of authority 
and salvation, and to attach themselves to her more and more in the 
bonds of hearty love and devotedness. God grant that seeing the 
truth of Our words and considering within themselves that the 
teaching of Christ is, as Augustine used to say, "a great blessing to 
the State, if obeyed," 3 and that their own peace and safety, as well 
as that of their people, is bound up with the safety of the Church 
and the reverence due to her they may give their whole thought 
and care to mitigating the evils by which the Church and its visible 
Head are harassed, and so it may at last come to pass that the peo- 
ples whom they govern may enter on the way of justice and peace, 
and rejoice in a happy era of prosperity and glory 


In the darkest periods of history the Church was the 
only refuge where the nations found peace and safety. 

August 27, 1878 

8 We said that the chief reason of this great moral 

ruin was the openly proclaimed separation and the attempted apos- 
tasy of the society of our day from Christ and His Church, which 
alone has the power to repair all the evils of society. In the noonday 
light of facts We then showed that the Church founded by Christ to 

3 Epistola 138 (or 5) ad Marcellinum n. 15 in Migne, P.L., v. 33, c. 532. 

4 Translation from O'Reilly, Life of Leo XIII, pp. 337-338. Original Italian, A,S.S. f 

v. n, pp. 274-276 (1878). 



renovate the world, from her first appearance in it began to give it 
great comfort by her superhuman virtue; that in the darkest and 
most destructive periods die Church was the only beacon light which 
made the road of life safe to the nations, the only refuge where 
they found peace and safety. 

9. From this it was easy to conclude that if in past ages the 
Church was able to bestow upon the world such signal benefits, she 
can also do it most certainly at present; that the Church, as every 
Catholic believes, being ever animated by the Spirit of Christ Who 
promised her His unfailing assistance was by Him established 
teacher of truth and guardian of a holy and faultless law; and that, 
being such, she possesses at this day all the force necessary to resist 
the intellectual and moral decay which sickens society, and to re- 
store the latter to health. 

10. And inasmuch as unprincipled foes, in order to bring her 
into disrepute and to draw on her the enmity of the world, continue 
to propagate against her the gravest calumnies, We endeavored 
from the beginning to dissipate these prejudices and to expose these 
falsehoods, resting assured that the nations, when they come to 
know the Church as she is in reality, and in her own beneficent 
nature, will everywhere willingly return to her bosom. 

1 1 . Urged by this purpose, We resolved also to make Our voice 
heard to those who rule the nations, inviting them earnestly not to 
reject, in these times of pressing need, the strong support which the 
Church offers them. And under the impulse of Our apostolic 
charity, We addressed Ourselves even to those who are not bound 
to Us by the tie of the Catholic religion, desiring, as We did, that 
their subjects also should experience the kindly influence of that 
divine institution. 

12. You are well aware, my Lord Cardinal, that in following 
out this impulse of Our heart We addressed Ourselves also to the 
mighty emperor of the illustrious German nation a nation which 
demanded Our special attention on account of the hard conditions 
there imposed on Catholics. Our words, inspired solely by the de- 
sire to see religious peace restored to Germany, were favorably 
received by the emperor and had the good effect to lead to friendly 
negotiations. In these Our purpose was, not to rest satisfied with a 
simple suspension of hostilities, but, removing every obstacle in the 
way, to come to a true, solid and lasting peace. 

[13-15] LEO XIII 

13. The importance of this aim was justly appreciated by those 
who hold in their hands the destinies of that empire, and this will 
lead them, as We sincerely trust, to join hands with Us in attaining 
it. The Church assuredly would rejoice to see peace brought back 
to that great nation; but the empire itself would not rejoice less 
that, consciences being appeased, the sons of the Catholic Church 
would be found still what they had at other times proved them- 
selves to be the most faithful and the most generous of sub- 


The Pope is striving to obtain the blessings and the 
fruits of a lasting peace for the German people. 

December 24, 1878 

14 For you well know, Venerable Brother, that We 

entertain the most intimate conviction a conviction which We have 
often expressed and publicly declared that the cause of the dangers 
which threaten society is to be sought principally in the fact that the 
authority of the Church is on all sides intercepted, and prevented 
from exercising its salutary influence for the public good, and that 
its liberty is so fettered that it is scarcely allowed to provide for the 
private necessities and welfare of individuals. And this persuasion 
is generated in Our mind not only by the knowledge which We 
have of the nature and powerful influence of the Church, but also 
by unquestionable historical proofs from which it is manifest that 
the condition of civil society is then most prosperous when the 
Church enjoys full liberty of action, and that whenever she is 
shackled by restrictions, those principles and doctrines which tend 
to the fall and dissolution of all human society begin to prevail. 

15. Since, then, this has been long Our settled opinion, it was 
natural that, from the very beginning of Our Pontificate, We 
should strive to call back princes and people to peace and friendship 
with the Church. And to you, Venerable Brother, it is certainly 
well known that We have for some time directed Our efforts to the 
end that the noble nation of the^Germans may see the end of its 

5 Translation from Keller, The Life and Acts of Pope Leo XIII, pp. 343-345. Original 
Latin, A.S.S., v. n, pp. 321-323 (1878). 


dissensions and obtain the blessings and fruits of a lasting peace 
without injury to the rights of the Church; and We think that 
you also know that, as far as We are concerned, We have neglected 
no means of arriving at an end so noble and so worthy of Our 
solicitude. But whether that which We have undertaken and are 
striving to effect will at last be prosperously accomplished He 
knows from Whom comes everything that is good, and Who has 
implanted in Us so ardent a desire and longing for peace. 

1 6. But whatever may be the ultimate issue, resigning Our- 
selves to the Divine Will, but animated by the same desire, We will 
persevere in the arduous task committed to Us, so long as life shall 
endure. For so great a duty can not lawfully be postponed or 
neglected, while, by the perverted teaching of perfidious men, who 
have thrown off all restraint of law, religious, political and social 
order is threatened with destruction. We should hold Ourselves 
to be neglecting the duty of Our apostolic ministry if We did not 
offer to human society, in this most dangerous crisis of its existence, 

the efficacious remedies which the Church provides And that 

this work of salvation undertaken by Us may be more perfectly 
and speedily accomplished, We call upon you, Venerable Brother, 
and the illustrious bishops of your country, to strive together with 
Us, with united desires and efforts, that the faithful committed to 
your charge may show themselves more and more docile to the 
teachings of the Church, and may more exactly observe the pre- 
scriptions of the divine law, so that the communication of their 
faith may be more manifest in the acknowledgment of every good 
wor\, which is in them in Christ Jesus? Thence will result that 
moderation and that obedience to laws (not repugnant to the faith 
and duty of a Catholic) by which they will show themselves worthy 
to receive the blessings of peace and to enjoy its happy fruits. But 
you are perfectly aware, Venerable Brother, that Our endeavors in 
so grave a matter will be altogether vain, unless We have the bless- 
ing and help of God. . . . Wherefore we must pour forth before 
Him fervent supplications and prayers, earnestly beseeching Him 
to enlighten His Vicar on earth and the bishops 

6 Philemon, v. 6. 

[17-18] LEO xiii 

ENCYCLICAL Quod Apostolici Muneris ON SOCIALISM, COM- 

Neither peace nor tranquillity remains in private or 
public life where the subversive doctrines of Socialism, 
Communism or Nihilism are taught. 

December 28, 1878 

17 You are aware, Venerable Brethren, that the war- 
fare raised against the Church by the reformers in the sixteenth cen- 
tury still continues and tends to this end, that by the denial of all 
revelation and the suppression of the supernatural order, the reason 
of man may run riot in its own conceits. This error, which unjustly 
derives its name from reason, flatters the pride of man', loosens the 
reins to all his passions, and thus it has deceived many minds, whilst 
it has made deep ravages on civil society. Hence it comes that, by 
a new sort of impiety, unknown to the pagans, States constitute 
themselves independently of God or of the order which He has 
established. Public authority is declared to derive neither its prin- 
ciple nor its power from God, but from the multitude, which, 
believing itself free from all divine sanction, obeys no laws but 
such as its own caprice has dictated. Supernatural truth being re- 
jected as contrary to reason, the Creator and Redeemer of the 
human race is ignored and banished from the universities, the 
lyceums and schools, as also from the whole economy of human 
life. The rewards and punishments of a future and eternal life are 
forgotten in the pursuit of present pleasure. With these doctrines 
widely spread, and this extreme license of thought and action ex- 
tended everywhere, it is not surprising that men of the lowest order, 
weary of the poverty of their home or of their little workshop, 
should yearn to seize upon the dwellings and possessions of the 
rich; that there remains neither peace nor tranquillity in private or 
public life, and that society is brought to the brink of destruc- 

1 8. ... If, however, at times it happens that public power is 
exercised by princes rashly and beyond bound, the Catholic doctrine 
does not allow subjects to rebel against a ruler by private authority, 
lest the peaceful order be more and more disturbed and society 

T Translation from Keller, The Life and Acts of Pope Leo XU\ f pp. 348-352, Original 
Latin, A.S.S., v. 11, pp. 370-373 (1878). 



suffer greater detriment. And when things have come to such a 
pass that no other hope of safety appears, it teaches that a speedy 
remedy is to be sought from God by the merit of Christian for- 
bearance and by fervent supplications. But if the ordinances of 
legislators and princes sanction or command what is contrary to 
the divine or the natural law, then the dignity of the Christian 
name, our duty, and the apostolic precept proclaim that we must 
obey God rather than men. 8 

RussiA. 9 

The Catholic religion is ever striving to bring peace 
and harmony between subjects and rulers in all 

April 12, 1880 

19. Sire: All the prosperity which, through Our cardinal pro- 
nuncio in Vienna, We wished your Imperial Majesty on the occa- 
sion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of your accession to the throne, 
We now wish anew in this letter, praying from Our heart that the 
King of kings and Lord of lords may fulfill Our prayers. 

20. We cannot, however, forbear to profit by this opportunity 
to appeal to your Majesty, beseeching you to bestow your thoughts 
and attention on the cruel condition of the Catholics belonging to 
your vast empire. Their state fills Us with unceasing pain and 
anxiety. The deep zeal which moves Us, in the discharge of Our 
office of Supreme Pastor of the Church, to provide for the spiritual 
needs of these faithful Catholics, should, it seems to Us, impel your 
Majesty, in the midst of so many political revolutions, of so many 
convulsions produced by greedy human passions, to grant to the 
Catholic Church such liberty as would assuredly create peace, beget 
fidelity and bind to your person the trusting hearts of your subjects. 

21. Your Majesty's sense of justice and right moves Us to hope 
that We can both bring about an accord entirely to Our mutual 
satisfaction. For your Majesty cannot be ignorant of the fact that 

8 Acts, V, 29. 

9 Translation from O'Reilly, Life of Leo XIII, pp. 373-374- Original Latin, Leonis XIII 

Pontifids Maxtmi Ada, v. 2, pp. 61-62 (1882). 


[22-23] LEO XIII 

the Catholic religion deems it her duty everywhere to spread the 
spirit of peace and to labor to preserve the tranquillity of kingdoms 
and peoples. . . . 



The Church, in all its dealings with governments, has 
only one purpose in mind, to preserve Christianity, 

October 22, 1880 

22 It is not to be supposed that the Catholic Church 

either blames or condemns any form of government, and the insti- 
tutions established by the Church for the general good can prosper, 
whether the administration of the State be entrusted to the power 
and justice of an individual or of several And as, amid political 
vicissitudes and changes, it is necessary that the Apostolic See con- 
tinue to treat of affairs with those who govern, it has in view but 
a single thing, namely, to safeguard Christian interests; but to in- 
fringe on the rights of sovereignty, no matter who those may be 
who exercise it, the Holy See never does and never can desire. Nor 
is it to be doubted that people ought to obey governments in every- 
thing that is not contrary to justice; the maintenance of order that 
is the foundation of the public good requires this. But it must not 
therefore be concluded that this obedience implies approval of 
whatever injustice there might be in the State's constitution and 


Leo XIII teaches what Catholic doctrine demands of 
the State and of the citizen for the maintenance of 
public order and peace. 

June 29, 1881 

23 These perils to commonwealths, which are before 

Our eyes, fill Us with grave anxiety, when We behold the .security 

10 Translation from Furey, Life of Leo XIII and History of His Pontificate, p. 199, 

Original Latin, A.S.S., v. 13, p. 196 (1880). 

11 Translation from The Tablet, v. 58, pp. 109-111 (July 16, 1881). Original Latin, 

A.S.S., v. 14, pp. 3-14 (1881). 



of princes and the tranquillity of empires, together with the safety 
of nations, put in peril almost from hour to hour. Nevertheless, 
the Divine power of the Christian religion has given birth to ex- 
cellent principles of stability and order for the State, while at the 
same time it has penetrated into the customs and institutions of 
States. And of this power not the least nor last fruit is a just and 
wise proportion of mutual rights and duties in both princes and 
peoples. For in the precepts and examples of Christ Our Lord there 
is a wonderful force for restraining in their duty as much those who 
obey as those who rule, and for keeping between them that agree- 
ment which is most according to nature, and that, so to say, concord 
of wills, from which arises a course of administration which is 
tranquil and free from all disturbance. Wherefore, being, by the 
favor of God, intrusted with the government of the Catholic 
Church, and made the Guardian and the Interpreter of the doc- 
trines of Christ, We judge that it belongs to Our jurisdiction, 
Venerable Brethren, publicly to set forth that which Catholic truth 
demands of every one in this sphere of duty; from which also it 
is made clear by what way and by what means measures may be 
taken for the public safety in so critical a state of affairs 

24. There is no question here respecting forms of government, 
for there is no reason why the Church should not approve of the 
chief power being held by one man or by more, provided only it be 
just, and that it tend to the common advantage. Wherefore, so long 
as justice be respected} the people are not hindered from choosing 
for themselves that form of government which suits best either 
their own disposition, or the institutions and customs of their 

25. But from the time when the civil society of men, raised 
from the ruins of the Roman Empire, gave hope of its future Chris- 
tian greatness, the Roman Pontiffs by the institution of The Holy 
Empire, consecrated the political power in a wonderful manner. 
Greatly, indeed, was the authority of rulers ennobled; and it is not 
to be doubted that what was then instituted would always have 
been a very great gain, both to ecclesiastical and civil society, if 
princes and peoples had ever looked to the same object as the 
Church. And, indeed, tranquillity and a sufficient prosperity lasted 
so long as there was a friendly agreement between these two powers. 
If the people were turbulent, the Church was at once the mediator 

[26] LEO XIII 

for peace; and recalling all to their duty, she subdued the more 
lawless passions partly by kindness and partly by authority. So, if, 
in ruling, princes erred in their government, she would go to them 
and, putting before them the rights, needs and lawful wants of 
their people, would urge them to equity, mercy and kindness. 
Whence it was often brought about that the dangers of civil wars 

and of tumults were stayed 

26. To princes and other rulers of the State We have offered 
the protection of religion, and We have exhorted the people to make 
abundant use of the great benefits which the Church supplies. Our 
present object is to make princes understand that that protection 
which is stronger than any is again offered to them; and We earnestly 
exhort them in our Lord to defend religion, and to consult the 
interest of their States by giving that liberty to the Church which 
cannot be taken away without injury and ruin to the common- 
wealth. The Church of Christ indeed cannot be an object of 
suspicion to rulers, nor of hatred to the people; for it urges rulers 
to follow justice, and in nothing to decline from their duty; while 
at the same time it strengthens and in many ways supports their 
authority. All things that are of a civil nature the Church acknowl- 
edges and declares to be under the power and authority of the ruler: 
and in those things the judgment of which belongs, for different 
reasons, both to the sacred and to the civil power, the Church wishes 
that there should be harmony between the two so that injurious 
contests may be avoided. As to what regards the people, the Church 
has been established for the salvation of all men and has ever loved 
them as a mother. For the Church it is which by the exercise of 
its charity has given gentleness to the minds of men, kindness to 
their manners, and justice to their laws; and, never opposed to 
honest liberty, she has always detested a tyrant's rule. This custom 
which the Church has ever had of deserving well of mankind is 
notably expressed by St. Augustine when he says: "The Church 
teaches Kings to study the welfare of their people and people to 
submit to their Kings, showing what is due to all: and that to all 
is due charity and to no one injustice." 12 For these reasons, Venera- 
ble Brethren, your work will be most useful and salutary if you 
employ with Us every industry and effort which God has given to 
you in averting the dangers and evils of human society. Strive with 

3 - DC moribus Ecclesiae, bk. I, ch. 3o in Mignc, P.L., v. 32, cc. 1336-1337. 


ETSI NOS' [27] 

all possible care to make men understand and show forth in their 
lives what the Catholic Church teaches on government and the 
duty of obedience. Let the people be frequently urged by your 
authority and teaching to fly from the forbidden sects, to abhor 
all conspiracy, to have nothing to do with sedition, and let them 
understand that they who, for God's sake, obey their rulers render 
a reasonable service and a generous obedience. And as it is God 
who gives safety to Kings 13 grants to the people to rest in the 
beauty of peace and in the tabernacles of confidence and in wealthy 
repose^ it is to Him that we must pray, beseeching Him to incline 
all minds to uprightness and truth, to calm angry passions, to re- 
store the long-wished-for tranquillity to the world 


Without Christian morality liberty becomes license; 
and turbulence and disorder plague the State. 

February 15, 1882 

27 If Christianity has been to all nations their strong- 
est safeguard, the guardian of their laws and the protectress of all 
justice; if it has held in check blind and rash cupidity, and pro- 
moted all that is right, praiseworthy, and great; if it has bound 
together in complete and lasting harmony the different orders of 
the commonwealth and the various members of the State; if it has 
done this for other nations, then in still more abundant measure 
has it conferred these benefits on Italy. There are many, far too 
many, so perverse as to repeat that the Church is an obstacle to 
the welfare and the development of the State, and to set down the 
Roman Pontificate as inimical to the prosperity and the greatness 
of Italy. The truth is that Italy owes it to the Roman Pontiffs 
that her glory has gone abroad to distant peoples, that she has 
sustained the repeated attacks of barbarians, that she has repulsed 
the dreaded Turk, that she has so long preserved in so many things 
her just and lawful liberties, and enriched her cities with so many 
immortal works of art. And it is not the least of the services of 

18 Psalms, CXLIII, 10. 
^Isaias, XXXII, 18. 

15 Translation from The Dublin Review, 3rd Series, v. 7, pp. 463-464 (April, 1882), 
Original Latin, A,S.S,, v. 14, pp. 338-340 (1882). 

[28-29] * LEO XIII 

the Popes that the various provinces of Italy, differing as they do 
in character and in customs, have been kept united by a common 
faith and a common religion, and free from the most fatal of all 
sources of discord. In many times of danger and calamity Italy 
would have been nigh unto perishing had it not been for the Popes. 
And, if not prevented by human perversity, the Roman Pontificate 
will be as great a blessing to her in the future as it has been in the 
past. The beneficent power of Catholicism is immutable and per- 
petual because it is inherent and essential As the Catholic religion 
knows no limits of space or time, when the interests of souls are 
concerned, so is it everywhere and at every moment prepared to 
further the well-being of States and peoples. 

28. When these good things depart, evil things take their place; 
for those who reject the teachings of Christianity, whatever they 
may say themselves, are the enemies of the commonwealth. Their 
doctrines tend directly to dangerous popular excitement and to 
unrestrained license and cupidity. In matters of knowledge and 
science, they repudiate the divine light of faith; and without faith 
men, as a rule, err grievously, and are blind to the truth, and with 
difficulty escape the degradations of materialism. In matters of 
morality they reject the everlasting and unchangeable rule of right, 
and despise God, the supreme Giver of laws and Avenger of wrong; 
and thus morality has no foundation or sanction, and each man's 
will becomes his law. In public affairs, their boasted liberty quickly 
becomes license, and where there is license there are turbulence 
and disorder, the worst plagues of the State. 

29. Never have cities and states been reduced to such a condition 
of horror and of misery as when such men and such teachings have 
for a time prevailed. Did not recent experience afford us examples, 
it would be utterly incredible that men should ever go to such 
lengths of wickedness, of audacity, and of fury as we have wit- 
nessed, and should rush wildly into the excesses of fire and blood 
whilst insulting the name of liberty with their lips. If Italy has not 
so far been subjected to such horrors, it is, first of all, the effect of 
the singular mercy of God, and it is owing, secondly, to the fact 
that the large majority of Italians are still earnest Catholics, and so 
beyond the power of these pernicious teachings. But once the safe- 
guard of religion were broken down, Italy would suffer as other 
great peoples have suffered. 



LETTER Benevolentiae Caritas TO THE BISHOPS OF IRELAND. 16 

Men have a right to claim the lawful redress of their 
wrongs; but a nations welfare cannot be procured by 
dishonor and crime. 

August i, 1882 

30. The kindly affection which We cherish toward Irishmen, and 
which seems to increase with their present sufferings, forces Us to 
follow the course of events in your island with the deep concern 
of a fatherly heart. From their consideration, however, We derive 
more of anxiety than of comfort, seeing that the condition of the 
people is not what We wish it to be, one of peace and prosperity. 

31. There still remain many sources of grievance; conflicting 
party passions incite many persons to violent courses; some even 
have stained themselves with fearful murders, as if a nation's welfare 
could be procured by dishonor and crime! 

32. This state of things is to you as well as to Us a cause of seri- 
ous alarm, as We had evidence of ere now, and as We have just 
noticed by the resolutions adopted in your meeting at Dublin. Fear- 
ful as you were for the salvation of your people, you have clearly 
shown them what they have to refrain from in the present critical 
conjuncture and in the very midst of the national struggle. 

33. In this you have discharged the duty imposed alike by your 
episcopal office and your love of country. At no time do a people 
more need the advice of their bishops than when, carried away by 
some powerful passion, they see before them deceptive prospects 
of bettering their condition. It is when impelled to commit what 
is criminal and disgraceful that the multitude need the voice and 
the hand of the bishop to keep them back from doing wrong, 
and to recall them by timely exhortation to moderation and self- 
control. Most timely, therefore, was your advice to your people, 
reminding them of the Saviour's injunction, SeeJ^ ye first the 'king- 
dom of God and His justice? 1 For all Christians are therein com- 
manded to keep their thoughts fixed, in their ordinary conduct as 
well as in their political acts, on the goal of their eternal salvation, 
and to hold all things subordinate to their duty to God. 

16 Translation from O'Reilly, Life of Leo XIII, pp. 426-429. Original Latin, A.S.S., 

v. 15, PP- 97-99 (1882). 

17 Matthew, VI, 33. 

[34-38] LEO XIII 

34. If Irishmen will only keep to these rules of conduct they will 
be free to seek to rise from the state of misery into which they 
have fallen. They surely have a right to claim the lawful redress 
of their wrongs. For no one can maintain that Irishmen cannot 
do what it is lawful for all other peoples to do. 

35. Nevertheless even the public welfare must be regulated by 
the principles of honesty and righteousness. It is a matter for serious 
thought that the most righteous cause is dishonored by being pro- 
moted by iniquitous means. Justice is inconsistent not only with 
all violence, but especially so with any participation in the deeds 
of unlawful societies, which, under the fair pretext of righting 
wrong, bring all communities to the verge of ruin. Just as Our 
Predecessors have taught that all right-minded men should carefully 
shun these dark associations, even so you have added your timely 
admonition to the same effect 

36. ... As We have already declared to you, We trust still that 
the government will conclude to grant satisfaction to the just claims 
of Irishmen. This We are led to believe from their acquaintance 
with the true state of things and from their statesmanlike wisdom; 
for there can be no question that on the safety of Ireland depends 
the tranquillity of the whole empire. 

37. Meanwhile, sustained by this hope, We shall lose no oppor- 
tunity of helping the Irish people by Our advice, pouring forth to 
God for them prayers filled with the warmest zeal and love, beseech- 
ing God to look down with kindness on a nation made illustrious by 
the practice of so many virtues, to appease the present storm of 
political passion, and to reward them at length with peace and 
prosperity. . . . 


The fundamental principle of concord in the State as 
well as in the Church is obedience to lawful authority. 

December 8, 1882 

38 It is, then, right to look on religion, and whatever is 

connected by any particular bond with it, as belonging to a higher 

16 Translation from The Tablet, v. 61, pp. 9-10 (January 6, 1883). Original Latin, 
A.S.S., v, 15, pp. 243-246 (1882). 

CUM MULTA [39-4 1 ] 

order. Hence, in the vicissitudes of human affairs, and even in the 
very revolutions in States, religion, which is the supreme good, 
should remain intact; for it embraces all times and all places. Men 
of opposite parties, though differing in all else, should be agreed 
unanimously in this: that in the State the Catholic religion should 
be preserved in all its integrity. To this noble and indispensable 
aim, all who love the Catholic religion ought, as if bound by a 
compact, to direct all their efforts; they should be somewhat silent 
about their various political opinions, which they are, however, at 
perfect liberty to ventilate in their proper place: for the Church 
is far from condemning such matters, when they are not opposed 
to religion or justice; apart and removed from all the turmoil of 
strife, she carries on her work of fostering the common weal, and 
of cherishing all men with the love of a mother, those particularly 
whose faith and piety are greatest. 

39. The fundamental principle of this concord of which We 
speak is at once the same in religion and in every rightly constituted 
State; it is obedience to the lawful authority which orders, forbids, 
directs, legislates, and thus establishes harmonious union amid the 
diverse minds of men. We shall here have to repeat some well- 
known truths, which, however, ought not to be the subjects of 
mere speculative knowledge, but should become rules applicable 
to the practice of life. 

40. Now, even as the Roman Pontiff is the Teacher and Prince 
of the Universal Church, so likewise are bishops the rulers and chiefs 
of the churches that have been duly intrusted to them. Each has 
within his own jurisdiction the power of leading, supporting, or 
correcting, and generally of deciding in such matters as may seem 
to affect religion. . . . We see, therefore, that bishops should have 
paid to them that respect which the eminence of their charge exacts, 
and receive in all matters within their office a perfect obedience. 

41. In face of the passions that at this moment are troubling the 
minds of so many in Spain, We exhort, nay, We conjure, all 
Spaniards to recall this so important duty and to fulfill it with all 
zeal. Let those especially who are of the clergy, and whose words 
and example exercise such potent influence, scrupulously apply 
themselves to observe moderation and obedience. For be it known 
to them that their toil in the fulfillment of their duties will be 
most profitable to themselves and efficacious to their neighbor. 

[42-43] LEO 

when they follow in full submission the guidance of him who is 
placed over them as head of the diocese. Assuredly it is not conduct 
consonant with the duties of the priesthood to give oneself up so 
entirely to the rivalries of parties as to appear more busy with the 
things of men than with those of God. . . . 

42. We deem those associations peculiarly fitted to aid them 
in this work which are, so to speak, the auxiliary forces destined 
to support the interests of the Catholic religion; and We approve, 
therefore, their object and the energy they display; We ardently 
desire that they may increase in number and in zeal, and that from 
day to day their fruits may be more abundant. But since the object 
of such societies is the defense and encouragement of Catholic 
interests, and as it is the bishops who, each in their proper diocese, 
have to watch over those interests, it naturally follows that they 
should be controlled by their bishops, and should set great value 
on their authority and commands. In the next place they should 
with equal care apply themselves to preserving union, first, because 
on the agreement of men's wills all the power and influence of 
any human society depends; and next, because in the societies of 
which We speak that mutual charity should especially be found 
which necessarily accompanies good works and is the characteristic 
trait of those whom Christian discipline has moulded. Now as it 
may easily happen that the members may differ on politics, they 
should recall to themselves the aim of all Catholic associations, and 
thereby prevent political partisanship from disturbing their cordial 
unity. . . . 

43. Lastly, it is most important that those who defend the in- 
terests of religion in the Press, and particularly in the daily papers, 
should take up the same attitude. We are aware of the objects they 
strive to attain and the intentions with which they have entered 
the arena, and We cannot but concede to them well-earned praise 
for their good service to the Catholic religion. But so lofty, so 
noble, is the cause to which they have devoted themselves, that it 
exacts from the defenders of truth and justice a rigorous observance 
of numerous duties which they must not fail to fulfill; and in 
seeking to accomplish some of these, the others must not be neg- 
lected. The admonitions, therefore, which We have given to 
associations, We likewise give to writers; We exhort them to re- 
move all dissensions by their gentleness and moderation, and to 



preserve concord amongst themselves and in the people, for the 
influence of writers is great on either side. But nothing can be 
more opposed to concord than biting words, rash judgments, or 
perfidious insinuations, and everything of this kind should be 
shunned with the greatest care and held in the utmost abhorrence. 
A discussion in which are concerned the sacred rights of the 
Church and the doctrines of the Catholic religion should not be 
acrimonious, but calm and temperate; it is weight of reasoning, 
and not violence and bitterness of language, which must win vic- 
tory for the Catholic writer. 

44. These rules of conduct will be, in Our judgment, of great 
use in removing the causes which impede perfect concord. It will 
be your task, Beloved Sons, Venerable Brethren, to explain Our 
thoughts to the people and to endeavor to the utmost of your 
power to make all conform their lives to the rules We have here 
laid down 

ENCYCLICAL Nobilissima Gallorum Gens TO THE BISHOPS OF 


The State and the Church are two perfect societies and, 
as such, can and should wor\ together in perfect har- 
mony and peace. 

February 8, 1884 

45 As there are on earth two principal societies, 

the one civil, the proximate end of which is the temporal and 
worldly good of the human race; the other religious, whose office 
it is to lead mankind to that true, heavenly and everlasting happi- 
ness for which we are created; so these are twin powers, both 
subordinate to the eternal law of nature, and each working for 
its own ends in matters concerning its own order and domain. 
But when anything has to be settled which for different reasons 
and in a different way concerns both powers, necessity and pub- 
lic utility demand that an agreement shall be effected between 
them, without which an uncertain and unstable condition of things 
will be the result, totally inconsistent with the peace either of 

^Translation from The Tablet, v. 63, p. 242 (February 16, 1884). Original Latin, 
A.S.S., v. 1 6, pp. 244-245 (1906, Reprint ed.). 


[ 46 ] L E O X 1 1 1 

Church or State. When, therefore, a solemn public compact has 
been made between the sacred and the civil power, then it is as 
much the interest of the State as it is just that the compact should 
remain inviolate; because, as each power has services to render to 
the other, a certain and reciprocal advantage is enjoyed and con- 
ferred by each. 

46. In France, at the beginning of this century, after the 
previous public commotions and terrors had subsided, the rulers 
themselves understood that they could not more effectually relieve 
the State, wearied with so many ruins, than by the restoration of 
the Catholic religion. In anticipation of future advantages. Our 
Predecessor, Pius VII, spontaneously acceded to the desire of the 
First Consul, and acted as indulgently as was consistent with his 
duty. And when an agreement was reached as regarded the prin- 
cipal points, the bases were laid, and a safe course marked out for 
the restoration and gradual establishment of religion. Many pru- 
dent regulations, indeed, were made at that and at subsequent times 
for the safety and honor of the Church. And great were the 
advantages derived therefrom, which were all the more to be val- 
ued in consequence of the state of prostration and oppression into 
which religion had been brought in France. With the restoration 
of public dignity to religion, Christian institutions manifestly re- 
vived; and it was wonderful what an increase of civil prosperity 
was the result. For when the State had scarcely emerged from the 
tempestuous waves and was anxiously looking for firm foundations 
on which to base tranquillity and public order, it found the very 
thing which it desired opportunely offered to it by the Catholic 
Church, so that it was apparent that the idea of effecting an agree- 
ment with the latter was the outcome of a prudent mind and a 
true regard for the people's welfare. Wherefore, if there were no 
other reasons for it, the same motive which led to the work of 
pacification being undertaken, ought now to operate for its main- 
tenance. For now that the desire of innovation has been enkindled 
everywhere, and in the existing uncertainty as to the future to sow 
fresh seeds of discord between the two powers, and by the interposi- 
tion of obstacles to fetter or delay the beneficial action of the Church, 
would be a course void of wisdom and full of peril 




Against false accusations, the Pope teaches that the State 
and Church together can promote public order and 

April 20, 1884 

47 The Church, if she directs men to render obedience 

chiefly and above all to God, the sovereign Lord, is wrongly and 
falsely believed either to be envious of the civil power or to arrogate 
to herself something of the rights of sovereigns. On the contrary, 
she teaches that what is rightly due to the civil power must be 
rendered to it with a conviction and consciousness of duty. In 
teaching that from God Himself comes the right of ruling, she adds 
a great dignity to civil authority, and no small help towards obtain- 
ing the obedience and good-will of the citizens. The friend of 
peace and sustainer of concord, she embraces all with maternal 
love; and, intent only upon giving help to moral man, she teaches 
that to justice must be joined clemency, equity to authority, and 
moderation to law-giving; that no one's right must be violated; 
that order and public tranquillity are to be maintained; and that 
the poverty of those who are in need is, as far as possible, to be 
relieved by public and private charity 


Leo XIII presents an acceptable solution for this dispute. 
October 22, 1885 

48. The discovery made by Spain, in the sixteenth century, 
of the islands forming the archipelago of the Carolines and the 
Palaos, and the series of acts accomplished in these same islands 
by the Spanish Government for the benefit of the natives, have 
created, in the conviction of the said government and of the nation, 
a title of sovereignty, founded upon the principles of international 
law which are quoted and obeyed in our days in similar cases. 

20 Translation from The Great Encyclical Letters of Pope Leo XIII, pp. 100-101. 

Original Latin, A.S.S., v. 16, p. 429 (1906, reprint ed.). 

21 Translation from Talbot, Pope Leo Xlll; His Life and Letters, pp. 362-363. Original 

French, Miiller, Das Friedenswer\ der Kirche, pp. 325-326. 


[49-5 1 ] LEO xni 

49. And, in fact, when we consider the sum of the above-men- 
tioned acts, the authenticity of which is confirmed by various docu- 
ments in the archives of Propaganda, we cannot mistake the 
beneficent course of Spain in regard to these islanders. It is, more- 
J over, to be observed that no other government has exercised a like 
action towards them. This explains what must be kept in mind, 
the constant tradition and conviction of the Spanish people in 
respect to that sovereignty, a tradition and a conviction which 
were manifested two months ago, with an ardor and an animosity 
capable of compromising for an instant the internal peace of two 
friendly governments and their mutual relations. 

50. On the other hand, Germany, as well as England, declared 
expressly in 1875 to the Spanish Government, that she did not 
recognize the sovereignty of Spain over these islands. The Imperial 
Government holds that it is the effectual occupation of a territory 
which constitutes the origin of the right of sovereignty over it, and 
that such occupation has never been realized by Spain in the case 
of the Carolines. It has acted in conformity with that principle in 
the Island of Yap; and in this the Mediator is happy to recognize, as 
the Spanish Government has also done, the loyalty of the Imperial 

51. In consequence, and in order that this divergence of views 
between the two States may be no obstacle to an honorable ar- 
rangement, the Mediator, having weighed all things, proposes that 
the new arrangement should adopt the formulas of the protocol 
relating to the Archipelago of Jolo, signed at Madrid on the 7th 
of March last, by the representatives of Great Britain, of Germany 
and of Spain; and that the following points be observed: 

(1) Affirmation of the sovereignty of Spain over the Carolines 
and the Palaos. 

(2) The Spanish Government, in order to render this sovereignty 
effectual, undertakes to establish as quickly as possible, in the archi- 
pelago .in question, a regular administration, with a sufficient force 
to guarantee order and the rights acquired. 

(3) Spain offers to Germany full and entire liberty of com- 
merce, of navigation, and of fishery within the islands, as also the 
right of establishing a naval and a coaling station. 

(4) Spain also assures to Germany the liberty of plantation 
within the islands, and of the foundation of agricultural establish- 

2 4 

IMMORTALE DEI [5 2 '53] 

ments upon the same footing as that of undertakings by Spanish 



All public power proceeds from God and, therefore, a 
State from which religion is banished can never be well 

November i, 1885 

52 It is not difficult to determine what would be the 

form and character of the State were it governed according to 
the principles of Christian philosophy. Man's natural instinct 
moves him to live in civil society, for he cannot, if dwelling apart, 
provide himself with the necessary requirements of life, nor procure 
the means of developing his mental and moral faculties. Hence, it 
is divinely ordained that he should lead his life be it family, 
social, or civil with his fellowmen, amongst whom alone his 
several wants can be adequately supplied. But as no society can 
hpld together unless some one be over all, directing all to strive 
earnestly for the common good, every civilized community must 
have a ruling authority, and this authority, no less than society it- 
self, has its source in nature, and has, consequently, God for its 
Author. Hence, it follows that all public power must proceed 
from God: for God alone is the true and supreme Lord of the 
world. Everything, without exception, must be subject to Him, 
and must serve Him, so that whosoever holds the right to govern, 
holds it from one sole and single Source, namely God, the Sovereign 
Ruler of all. There is no power but from God. 23 

53. The right to rule is not necessarily, however, bound up 
with any special mode of government. It may take this or that 
form, provided only that it be of a nature to insure the general 
welfare. But whatever be the nature of the government, rulers 
must ever bear in mind that God is the paramount Ruler of the 
world, and must set Him before themselves as their exemplar and 
law in the administration of the State. For, in things visible, God 

22 Translation from The Catholic Mind, v, 34, n. 21, pp. 426-448 (November 8, 1936). 
Original Latin, A.S.S., v. 18, pp. 162-179 (1885). 
/, XIII, i. 

[54-55] LEO XIH 

has fashioned secondary causes in which His divine action can in 
some wise be discerned, leading up to the end to which the course 
of the world is ever tending. In like manner in civil society, God 
has always willed that there should be a ruling authority, and that 
they who are invested with it should reflect the divine power and 
providence in some measure over the human race. 

54. They, therefore, who rule should rule with even-handed 
justice, not as masters, but rather as fathers, for the rule of God 
over man is most just, and is tempered always with a father's 
kindness. Government should moreover be administered for the 
well-being of the citizens, because they who govern others possess 
authority solely for the welfare of the State. Furthermore, the civil 
power must not be subservient to the advantage of any one indi- 
vidual, or of some few persons; inasmuch as it was established for 
the common good of all. But if those who are in authority rule 
unjustly, if they govern overbearingly or arrogantly, and if their 
measures prove hurtful to the people, they must remember that the 
Almighty will one day bring them to account, the more strictly in 
proportion to the sacredness of their office and pre-eminence of 
their dignity. The mighty shall be mightily tormented? 4 " Then 
truly will the majesty of the law meet with the dutiful and willing 
homage of the people, when they are convinced that their rulers 
hold authority from God, and feel that it is a matter of justice and 
duty to obey them, and to show them reverence and fealty, united 
to a love not unlike that which children show their parents. Let 
every soul be subject to higher powers. 25 To despise legitimate 
authority, in whomsoever vested, is unlawful, as a rebellion against 
the Divine Will; and whoever resists that rushes wilfully to de- 
struction. He that resisteth the power resisteth the ordinance of 
God, and they that resist, purchase to themselves damnation?^ To 
cast aside obedience and by popular violence to incite to revolt, is, 
therefore, treason, not against man only, but against God 

55. It is a public crime to act as though there were no God. 
So, too, is it a sin in the State not to have care for religion, as a 
something beyond its scope, or as of no practical benefit; or out of 
many forms of religion to adopt that one which chimes in with the 

24 Wisdom, VT, 7. 
~ 5 Romans, XIII, i. 
26 Romans, XIII, 2. 


IMMORTALE DEI [ 5^-57 ] 

fancy; for we are bound absolutely to worship God in that way 
which He has shown to be His will. All who rule, therefore, 
should hold in honor the holy Name of God, and one o their chief 
duties must be to favor religion, to protect it, to shield it under 
the credit and sanction of the laws, and neither to organize nor 
enact any measures that may compromise its safety. This is the 
bouncjen duty of rulers to the people over whom they rule : for one 
and ajl we are destined, by our birth and adoption, to enjoy, when 
this frail and fleeting life is ended, a supreme and final good in 
heaven, and to the attainment of this every endeavor should be 
directed. Since, then, upon this depends the full and perfect happi- 
ness of mankind, the securing of this end should be, of all imagin- 
able interests, the most urgent. Hence, civil society, established for 
the common welfare, should not only safeguard the well-being of 
the community, but have also at heart the interests of its individual 
members, in such mode as not in any way to hinder, but in every 
manner to render as easy as may be, the possession of that highest 
and unchangeable good for which all should seek. Wherefore, for 
this purpose, care must especially be taken to preserve unharmed 
and unimpeded the religion whereof the practice is the link con- 
necting man with his God 

56. The Almighty, therefore, has appointed the charge of the 
human race between two powers, the ecclesiastical and the divine, 
the one being set over divine, and the other over human things. 
Each in its kind is supreme, each has fixed limits within which it 
is contained, limits which are defined by the nature and special 
object of the province of each, so that there is, we may say, an orbit 
traced out within which the action of each is brought into play by 
its own native right. 

57. ... There must, accordingly, exist, between these two pow- 
ers, a certain orderly connection, which may be compared to the 
union of the soul and body in man. The nature and scope of that 
connection can be determined only, as We have laid down, by 
having regard to the nature of each power, and by taking account 
of the relative excellence and nobleness of their purpose. One of 
the two fias for its proximate and chief object the well-being of 
this mortal life; the other the everlasting joys of heaven. Whatever, 
therefore, in things human is of a sacred character, whatever be- 
longs either of its own nature or by reason of the end to which it 


[58-61] LEO XIII 

is referred, to the salvation of souls, or to the worship of God, is 
subject to the power and judgment of the Church. Whatever is to 
be ranged under the civil and political order is rightly subject to 
the civil authority. Jesus Christ has Himself given command that 
what is Cesar's is to be rendered to Caesar, and that what belongs 
to God is to be rendered to God. 

58. There are, nevertheless, occasions when another method 
of concord is available, for the sake of peace and liberty: We mean 
when rulers of the State and the Roman Pontiff come to an under- 
standing touching some special matter. At such times the Church 
gives signal proof of her motherly love by showing the greatest 
possible kindliness- and indulgence 

59. ... To exclude the Church, founded by God Himself, from 
the business of life, from the power of making laws, from the 
training of youth, from domestic society, is a grave and fatal error. 
A State from which religion is banished can never be well regu- 
lated; and already perhaps more than is desirable is known of the 
nature and tendency of the so-called civil philosophy of life and 
morals. The Church of Christ is the true and sole teacher of virtue 
and guardian of morals. She it is who preserves in their purity the 
principles from which duties flow, and by setting forth most urgent 
reasons for virtuous life, bids us not only to turn away from wicked 
deeds, but even to curb all movements of the mind that are op- 
posed to reason; even though they be not carried out in action. 

60. To wish the Church to be subject to the civil power in the 
exercise of her duty is a great folly and a sheer injustice. Whenever 
this is the case, order is disturbed, for things natural are put above 
things supernatural; the many benefits which the Church, if free 
to act, would confer on society are either prevented or at least 
lessened in number; and a way is prepared for enmities and 
contentions between the two powers; with how evil result to both 
the issue of events has taught us only too frequently 

61. In the same way the Church cannot approve of that liberty 
which begets a contempt of the most sacred laws of God, and casts 
off the obedience due to lawful authority, for this is not liberty so 
much as license, and is most correctly styled by St. Augustine the 
"liberty of self-ruin," 27 and by the Apostle, St. Peter, the doa\ for 

CV ad Donatistas, c. II, n. 9 in Migne P.L., v. 33, c. 899. 


malice?* Indeed, since it is opposed to reason, it is a true slavery, 
for whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 2Q On the other 
hand, that liberty is truly genuine, and to be sought after, which in 
regard to the individual does not allow men to be the slaves of 
error and of passion, the worst of all masters; which, too, in public 
administration guides the citizens in wisdom and provides for 
them increased means of well-being; and which, further, protects 
the State from foreign interference. 

62. This honorable liberty, alone worthy of human beings, the 
Church approves most highly and has never slackened her endeavor 
to preserve, strong and unchanged, among nations. And in truth 
whatever in the State is of chief avail for the common welfare; 
whatever has been usefully established to curb the license of rulers 
who are opposed to the true interests of the people, or to prevent 
governments from unwarrantably interfering in municipal or fam- 
ily affairs; whatever tends to uphold the honor, manhood and 
equal rights of individual citizens; of all these things, as the 
monuments of past ages bear witness, the Catholic Church has 
always been the originator, the promoter, or the guardian. Ever, 
therefore, consistent with herself, while on the one hand she rejects 
that exorbitant liberty which in individuals and in nations ends 
in license or in thraldom, on the other hand, she willingly and most 
gladly welcomes whatever improvements the age brings forth, if 
these really secure the prosperity of life here below, which is as it 
were a stage in the journey to the life that will know no end- 

63. All this, though so reasonable and full of counsel, finds 
little favor nowadays, when States not only refuse to conform to 
the rules of Christian wisdom, but seem even anxious to recede 
from them further and further on each successive day. Nevertheless, 
since truth when brought to light is wont, of its own nature, to 
spread itself far and wide, and gradually take possession of the 
minds of men, We, moved by the great and holy duty of Our 
Apostolic mission to all nations, speak, as We are bound to do, with 
freedom. Our eyes are not closed to the spirit of the times. We 
repudiate not the assured and useful improvements of our age, but 
devoutly wish affairs of .State to take a safer course than they are 

28 IP<f/<?r,II, 1 6. 

29 John, VIII, 34. 

[64-67] LEO XIII 

now taking, and to rest on a more firm foundation without injury 
to the true freedom of the people. For the best parent and guardian 
of liberty amongst men is truth. The truth shall maf^e you 

64. But in matters merely political, as for instance the best form 
of government, and this or that system of administration, a differ- 
ence of opinion is lawful. Those, therefore, whose piety is in other 
respects known, and whose minds are ready to accept in all obedi- 
ence the decrees of the Apostolic See, cannot in justice be accounted 
as bad men because they disagree as to subjects We have men- 
tioned; and still graver wrong will be done them, if as We have 
more than once perceived with regret they are accused of violat- 
ing, or of wavering in, the Catholic Faith. 

65. Let this be well borne in mind by all who are in the habit 
of publishing their opinions, and above all by journalists. In the 
endeavor to secure interests of the highest order there is no room 
for intestine strife or party rivalries, since all should aim with one 
mind and purpose to make safe that which is the common object 
of all the maintenance of Religion and of the State. 

66. If, therefore, there have hitherto been dissensions, let them 
henceforth be gladly buried in oblivion. If rash or injurious acts 
have been committed, whoever may have been at fault, let mutual 
charity make amends, and let the past be redeemed by a special sub- 
mission of all to the Apostolic See. 

67. ' In this way Catholics will attain two most excellent results: 
they will become helpers to the Church in preserving and propagat- 
ing Christian wisdom; and they will confer the greatest benefit on 
civil society, the safety of which is exceedingly imperiled by evil 
teachings and bad passions. This, Venerable Brethren, is what We 
have thought it Our duty to expound to all nations of the Catholic 
world touching the Christian constitution of States and the duties 
of individual citizens. 

80 John, VIII, 32. 



LETTER Cum de Carolinis Insulis TO PRINCE BISMARCK OF 


The dispute concerning the Caroline Islands has been 
settled according to the solution proposed by Leo XIII. 

December 31, 1885 

68. The dispute arising in regard to the Caroline Islands hav- 
ing been happily ended on the conditions laid down by Us, We 
have expressed Our joy thereat to His Majesty, the German Em- 
peror, and We wish now to renew to Your Highness Our expres- 
sion of the same sentiment; for it was you who proposed that the 
solution of this conflict be submitted to Us. We are pleased to 
acknowledge, in conformity with the truth, that it was in a large 
part due to your constant zeal that the difficulties met with in the 
settlement of this affair could have been overcome; for, from be- 
ginning to end, you never ceased to second Our efforts by entering 
into Our views. So We now hasten to show you Our gratitude 
for having so effectively contributed to furnishing Us with a most 
favorable opportunity for exercising so exalted a ministry in the 
interest of harmony. History, it is true, tells us that this task is not 
new to the Holy See, but it is a long time since such a proposal was 
made to it, though there is scarcely any function more in harmony 
with the spirit and nature of the Roman Papacy. Free from all 
prejudices, you have looked at the situation rather from the stand- 
point of truth than from that of the opinions and inclinations of 
others, and you have not hesitated to place your confidence in Our 
impartiality. By acting thus you have obtained the approval of all 
men whose thoughts are not dominated by their prejudices espe- 
cially that of Catholics throughout the whole world, who ought to 
be deeply touched by the honor done to their Father, their chief 
Pastor. Your political sagacity, as the whole world acknowledged, 
has contributed vastly to the formation of the great and powerful 
German empire, and it is natural that that empire's solidity and 
prosperity, based on strength and durable well-being, be the first 
object of your efforts; but it cannot by any means have escaped your 
clear-sightedness how many means are at the disposal of the power 
with which We are vested, for the maintenance of political and 

81 Translation from Furey, Life of Leo Xlll and History of His Pontificate, pp. 220-222. 
Original Latin, A.S.S., v, 18, p, 417 (1885). 

3 1 

[69-7] LEO XIII 

social order, especially if this power enjoys unshackled its full liberty 
of action. Permit Us, then, to anticipate events in spirit, and to 
regard what has been done as a pledge of what the future will 
bring. So that you may have from now a testimony of Our esteem, 
We name you a knight of the Order of Christ, the insignia of which 
order will be sent to you along with this letter. 


The Pope is willing to co-operate with secular rulers 
but he must insist upon the recognition of the rights of 
the Church. 

January 6, 1886 

69 The desire which We have had and still have to 

re-establish concord and peace on a solid basis is so great that We 
have not failed to inform rulers that We are ready to comply with 
their will in so far as the divine laws and the duty of conscience 
permit. And what is more, We have not hesitated to give clear 
proof of this intention; and it is Our firm purpose not to neglect 
to do anything in the future which may contribute to the re-estab- 
lishing and strengthening of concord. 

70. However, in order that Our desire and hope may be real- 
ized, special care must be taken that the public laws be purged of 
all that is contrary to Catholic discipline in whatever pertains 
chiefly and more closely to the piety of the faithful. There must 
likewise be a repeal of whatever hampers the proper freedom of 
bishops in governing their churches according to the divinely estab- 
lished ordinances and in training the youth in seminaries according 
to the prescriptions of canon law. For though We are animated 
by a sincere desire for peace, still We may not dare do anything 
that is contrary to what has been divinely established and ordained, 
for the defense of which, if need be, We are ready, after the ex- 
ample of Our Predecessors, to endure the greatest hardships. 

32 Original Latin, A.S,S, t v. 18, pp. 388-389 (1886). 




Leo XIII explains his decision in the controversy be- 
tween Spain and Germany-over possession of the Caro- 
line Islands. 

January 15, 1886 

71. Even though the affair which We have decided to treat is 
now a matter of public knowledge, nevertheless, since it is con- 
nected with the public good of nations and has renewed a custom 
that is very honorable to the Apostolic See, and one which for a 
long time has been interrupted, We judge it proper to make refer- 
ence about it to you here and in Our own person. 

72. Last September, when the Emperor of Germany and the 
King of Spain together had asked Us to be the arbitrator in the 
dispute over the Caroline Islands, We gladly accepted the office 
thus entrusted to Us because We hoped thereby to serve the cause 
of peace and humanity. We, therefore, examined and weighed in 
the balance of an impartial and equitable judgment the arguments 
o both litigants, and then We submitted to them certain proposi- 
tions as a basis of mutual agreement, which We hoped would 
prove acceptable to them. 

73. Spain brought forward many reasons in support of her 
right to that distant portion of Micronesia. She was the first nation 
whose ships had reached those shores a fact acknowledged by the 
most distinguished geographers. The very name of Carolines 
attested the Spanish title. Besides, the kings of Spain had more 
than once sent thither apostolic men as missionaries, and of this 
the records of the Roman Pontificate afford confirmatory proof; 
for there exists a letter of Our Predecessor, Clement XI, to Philip V, 
written in 1706, praising this prince for having equipped and fur- 
nished a vessel to convey missionaries to the Carolines. In it the 
Pontiff also exhorts the king to continue to help propagate the 
Christian name and procure the salvation of multitudes of human 

74. The same Pontiff also wrote to Louis XIV, beseeching him 
not to hinder in any way the carrying out of an enterprise so hap- 
pily begun by his grandson. Again, Philip V fixed an annual 

88 Original Latin, A.S.S., v. 18, pp. 309-311 (1886). 


[7578] LEO XIII 

sum of two thousand crowns to be set apart for the support of these 
missions. Furthermore, no nation but the Spanish ever did any- 
thing to bring the light of the Gospel to these islands. And, finally, 
whatever information we possess of the manner of living and 
customs of the natives has been furnished by the missionaries. 

75. From this series of facts, viewed especially in the light of 
the international jurisprudence then in vigor, it is evident that the 
right of Spain to the Caroline Islands is fairly established. For if 
any claim to sovereignty can be derived from the labor of civilizing 
a barbarous country, this claim must be highest in favor of such as 
endeavor to reclaim barbarians from pagan superstition to the 
Gospel morality, inasmuch as in true religion are to be found all 
the most powerful civilizing forces. On this principle were often 
founded the rights of sovereignty; and this was the case, for in- 
stance, of several islands in the ocean, of which not a few bear 
names given them by the Christian religion. 

76. Seeing, therefore, that a constant and well-founded public 
opinion conceded to Spain the sovereignty over the Carolines, it is 
not surprising that when the late dispute began about thfeir posses- 
sion the whole Spanish nation was stirred with such excitement as 
to threaten not only the internal peace of the kingdom, but to 
imperil its relations with a friendly power. 

77. To the arguments brought forward by Spain, Germany on 
her side opposed others also based on the law of nations that 
residence on land is necessary to possession: that, taking into ac- 
count the facts of recent history, the law of nations sanctions as 
legitimate the claim to ownership of territory when the claimant 
occupies and uses it; that where the territory is not so occupied and 
used the land is accounted as having no owner. Wherefore, con- 
sidering the fact that the Carolines had not during a century and a 
half been occupied by Spain, these islands should have been ad- 
judged the property of the first person taking possession of them. 
In addition to these reasons it was alleged that some such dispute 
as the present having arisen in the year 1875, both Gerrnany and 
Great Britain affirmed they did not at all acknowledge the sover- 
eignty of Spain over the Carolines. 

78. In this divergence of opinions We took into account the 
respective rights and interests of the two contending nations, and 
confidently submitted a plan which We thought well fitted for 


QUOD MULTUM [79- gl ] 

bringing about a peaceful settlement of the difficulty. We were 
guided solely in this by Our own sense of equity, and, as you are 
aware, both parties willingly accepted Our proposal. 

79. .Thus was accomplished an event which the present cur- 
rents of public opinion forbade Us to look forward to. Providence 
willed that two illustrious nations should do homage to the supreme 
authority in the Church by asking it to fulfill an office so much in 
keeping with its nature, to preserve by its action the threatened 
peace and harmony between them. This is the fruit of that salutary 
and beneficent influence which God has attached to the power of 
the Supreme Pontiffs. Superior to the envious jealousy of its 
enemies, and more mighty than the prevailing iniquity of the age, 
it is subject neither to destruction nor to change. 

80. From all this, too, it becomes manifest how grievous an evil 
are the wars waged against the Apostolic See and the lessening of 
its rightful liberty. For thereby it is not merely justice and religion 
that are made to suffer, but the public good itself, since in the 
present critical and changeful condition of public affairs the Roman 
Pontificate would confer far greater benefits on the world if, with 
perfec^ freedom and rights unimpaired, it could devote all its ener- 
gies to promoting, without hindrance, the salvation of the human 
race. . . . 



The firmest foundation for peace in any nation is the 
Catholic religion. 

AugUSt 22, l886 

8 1 Certainly it has never been more necessary than at 

present to understand and to be convinced thoroughly not only of 
the great opportunity but of the absolute necessity of the Catholic 
religion for peace and public welfare. Daily experience reveals to 
Us to what an extremity those who are accustomed to respect no 
authority and who tolerate no limits to their own desires would 
reduce the State. No one is unaware, in these days, of what they 
intend, and by what means and with what determination they 

34 Original Latin, A.S.S., v. IQ, pp. 99-100 (1886). 


[82] LEO XIII 

strive to accomplish these things. The greatest empires and the 
most flourishing republics are at the present time assailed by these 
groups of men united by a common purpose and by similar meth- 
ods of action so that the public tranquillity is constantly menaced 
by some kind of peril. In order to combat such an onslaught of 
evil, the salutary counsel of strengthening the authority of the mag- 
istrates and of increasing the rigor of the laws has been given in 
some countries. And yet to avoid the terrors of Socialism, a very 
excellent and truly efficacious means, without which the fear of 
punishment will have little effect, is to inspire in the citizens a deep 
religious spirit and to inculcate in them a respect for and a love of 
the Church. The Church is the sacred guardian of religion, the 
parent and the teacher of the purity of customs and of all the vir- 
tues which spring from religion as their source. Whoever reli- 
giously and wholeheartedly follows the precepts of the Gospel shall 
by that very fact remain far from the shadow of Socialism. Even as 
religion commands men to worship and to fear God, so also it 
orders them to submit to and to obey lawful authority; it forbids 
anyone to take part in sedition; it prescribes respect for the goods 
and the rights of others; it commands those who are rich to come 
to the aid of the multitudes. It surrounds the poor with the re- 
sources of charity; it brings sweet consolations to the unfortunate 
by inspiring in them a hope for immeasurable and immortal goods 
which will be greater than those from the deprivation of which they 
have suffered so harshly and for such a long time.- 



Mere -private -practice of religion is not enough to estab- 
lish a lasting peace. 

June 15, 1887 

82 But without the Church the common good will 

simply never be realized; without her salutary influence, which can 
safely guide minds to truth and strengthen souls to virtue and to 
bearing every difficulty, neither the severity of laws, nor punish- 
ments meted out by human justice, nor armed force itself will be 

35 Original Latin, A.S.S., v. 20, pp. 7-19 (1887). 



sufficient to avert the present crisis, much less to rebuild society 
upon its natural and solid foundations. 

83. Firmly convinced of this We consider it Our duty to carry 
out this work of the common good already begun by spreading 
the precepts of the holy Gospel, by winning over once more to the 
Church and her hierarchy the minds of all, and finally by acquir- 
ing for both a fuller freedom, that they may be able to carry out 
in the world with abundant success a most useful mission which 
they have received from God 

84. But to come to the point of really establishing lasting peace, 
it is not enough, as in other matters, to make provision for some 
private need of religion, to mitigate or abolish hostile laws, to 
impede, to avert some measures enacted contrary to Our interests 
which they may perchance enforce, but it is necessary besides, nay 
even of first and foremost importance, that the position of the 
Supreme Head of the Church, which many years ago through vio- 
lence and injustice became positively unworthy of him and 
incompatible with the Apostolic office, be established as is fitting 
and becoming. Wherefore, in a previous allocution, We were careful 
to set up the rights and dignity of the Apostolic See as the very 
first foundation stone of this reconciliation and to demand for 
Ourselves that condition in whiclv the Roman Pontiff would be 
subject to no one and would enjoy complete freedom, not merely 
a mocking semblance of it 

85. In very truth, if it be borne in mind that the war waged 
against the sovereignty of the Roman Pontiffs has always had the 
enemies of the Church as its instigators, and in these latter times 
bands of conspirators and public enemies, whose purpose in over- 
throwing the temporal dominion has been to open a way for 
attacking and destroying the spiritual power itself of the Popes, 
this very fact clearly proves that the royal sovereignty of the Popes 
is still, in the plans of Divine Providence, a means for the peaceful 
exercise of their Apostolic authority since it effectively safeguards 
their autonomy and liberty 

86. Here where the Roman Pontiff usually lives, and rules, 
teaches, and commands, it is particularly necessary that he be 
established in such a position of autonomy that his freedom be 
not in the least hindered by anyone, and that it be clear to all that 
he is positively free, so that the faithful who are scattered through- 


[87-88] LEO xiii 

out the world may with confidence and security manifest the faith 
and obedience they ow; him on account of his sacred office. Let 
this be brought about not by that kind of agreement which changes 
and is altered under every circumstance, but by one which is of its 
very nature firm and lasting. Without any fear of hindrances 
which may perchance be put in the way, here more than anywhere 
else the full development of Catholic life, the solemnity of divine 
worship, regard for the laws of the Church and their public observ- 
ance must be possible, and likewise the peaceful and legal existence 
and life of all pious works which have been established by the 

Catholic Church 

87. On the other hand, it is not difficult to foresee possible 
events, as a result of which the status of the Roman Pontiff may 
become worse, whether indeed through the successful attempts of 
rebels and those men who make no pretense whatever of hiding 
their feelings against the Vicar of Christ, or on account of the 
varying fortunes and countless complications which may turn out 
to his detriment 


The Bishops of Brazil are commended for helping to 
rid their country of slavery. The newly freed slaves are 
exhorted to maintain peaceful relations with their 
former masters. 

May 5, 1888 

88 And now, Venerable Brethren, Our thoughts and 

letters desire to turn to you that We may again announce to you 
and again share with you the exceeding joy which We feel on 
account of the determinations which have been publicly entered 
into in that empire with regard to slavery. If indeed it seemed to 
Us a good, happy, and propitious event, that it was provided and 
insisted upon by law that whoever were still in the condition of 
slaves ought to be admitted to the status and rights of free men, so 
also it confirms and increases Our hope of future acts which will 
be the cause of joy, both in civil and religious matters. Thus the 

3G Translation from The Tablet, v. 71, pp, 876-877 (June 2, 1888), Original Latin, 
A.S.S., v. 20, pp. 557-558 (1888), 



name of the Empire of Brazil will be justly held in honor and 
praise among the most civilized nations, and the name of its august 
Emperor will likewise be esteemed whose excellent speech is on 
record, that he desired nothing more ardently than that every 
vestige of slavery should be speedily obliterated from his territories. 
But truly, until those precepts of the laws are carried into effect, 
earnestly endeavor, We beseech you, by all means, and press on 
as much as possible the accomplishment of this affair, which no 
light difficulties hinder. Through your means let it be brought 
to pass that masters and slaves may mutually agree with the highest 
goodwill and best good faith, nor let there be any transgression of 
clemency or justice, but whatever things have to be carried out let 
all be done lawfully, temperately, and in a Christian manner; 
it is, however, chiefly to be wished that this may be prosperously 
accomplished, which all desire, that slavery may be banished and 
blotted out without any injury to divine or human rights, with 
no agitation of the State, and so with the solid benefit of the slaves 
themselves, for whose sake it is undertaken. To each one of these, 
whether they have already been made free or are about to become 
so, We address with a pastoral intention and fatherly mind a few 
salutary cautions culled from the words of the great Apostle of the 
Gentiles. Let them, then, endeavor piously and constantly to 
retain a grateful memory and feeling towards those by whose 
counsel and exertion they were set at liberty. Let them never show 
themselves unworthy of so great a gift nor ever confound liberty 
with license; but let them use it as becomes well-ordered citizens 
for the industry of an active life, for the benefit and advantage both 
of their family and of the State. To respect and increase the dignity 
of their princes, to obey the magistrates, to be obedient to the laws, 
these and similar duties let them diligently fulfill, under the influ- 
ence, not so much of fear as of religion; let them also restrain and 
keep in subjection envy of another's wealth or position, which 
unfortunately daily distresses so many of those in inferior positions, 
and presents so many incitements of rebellion against security of 
order and peace. Content with their state and lot, let them think 
nothing dearer, let them desire nothing more ardently than the good 
things of the heavenly kingdom by whose grace they have been 
brought to the light and redeemed by Christ 


[89] LEO XIII 

ENCYCLICAL Libertas Praestantissimum ON HUMAN LIBERTY; {T 

The Pope writes on the true nature of human liberty 
and explains how this concept has been corrupted in 
modern times. Now the peace of the world is threat- 
ened by false notions of human liberty. 

June 20, 1888 

89 What has been said of the liberty o individuals is 

no less applicable to them when considered as bound together in 
civil society. For, what reason and the natural law do for individ- 
uals, that human law, promulgated for their good, does for the 
citizens of States. Of the laws enacted by men, some are concerned 
with what is good or bad by its very nature; and they command 
men to follow after what is right and to shun what is wrong, 
adding at the same time a suitable sanction. But such laws by no 
means derive their origin from civil society; because just as civil 
society did not create human nature, so neither can it be said to 
be the author of the good which befits human nature, or of the 
evil which is contrary to it. Laws come before men live together 
in society, and have their origin in the natural, and consequently 
in the eternal, law. The precepts, therefore, of the natural law, 
contained bodily in the laws of men, have not merely the force of 
human law, but they possess that higher and more august sanction 
which belongs to the law of nature and the eternal law. And within 
the sphere of this kind of laws, the duty of the civil legislator is, 
mainly, to keep the community in obedience by the adoption of a 
common discipline and by putting restraint upon refractory and 
viciously inclined men, so that, deterred from evil, they may turn 
to what is good, or at any rate may avoid causing trouble and dis- 
turbance to the State. Now there are other enactments of the civil 
authority, which do not follow directly, but somewhat remotely, 
from the natural law, and decide many points which the law of 
nature treats only in a general and indefinite way. For instance, 
though nature commands all to contribute to the public peace and 
prosperity, still whatever belongs to the manner and circumstances, 
and conditions under which such service is to be rendered must 
be determined by the wisdom of men and not by nature herself. 

87 Translation from The Great Encyclical Letters of Pope Leo XUI, pp. 141-162. 
Original Latin, A,S.S,, v. 20, pp. 597-613 (1888). 



It is in the constitution of these particular rules o life, suggested 
by reason and prudence, and put forth by competent authority, that 
human law, properly so called, consists, binding all citizens to work 
together for the attainment of the common end proposed to the 
community, and forbidding them to depart from this end; and in 
so far as human law is in conformity with the dictates of nature, 
leading to what is good, and deterring from evil 

90. From this it is manifest that the eternal law of God is the 
sole standard and rule of human liberty, not only in each individual 
man, but also in the community and civil society which men con- 
stitute when united. Therefore, the true liberty of human society 
does not consist in every man doing what he pleases, for this would 
simply end in turmoil and confusion, and bring on the overthrow 
of the State; but rather in this, that through the injunctions of the 
civil law all may more easily conform to the prescriptions of the 
eternal law. Likewise, the liberty of those who are in authority 
does not consist in the power to lay unreasonable and capricious 
commands upon their subjects, which would equally be criminal 
and would lead to the ruin of the commonwealth; but the binding 
force of human laws is in this, that they are to be regarded as 
applications of the eternal law, and incapable of sanctioning any- 
thing which is not contained in the eternal law, as in the principle 
of all law 

91. Therefore, the nature of human liberty, however it be con- 
sidered, whether in individuals or in society, whether in those who 
command or in those who obey, supposes the necessity of obedience 
to some supreme and eternal law, which is no other than the 
authority of God, commanding good and forbidding evil. And so 
far from this most just authority of God over men diminishing, 
or even destroying, their liberty, it protects and perfects it, for the 
real perfection of all creatures is found in the prosecution and 
attainment of their respective ends; but the supreme end to which 
human liberty must aspire is God. 

92. These precepts of the truest and highest teaching, made 
known to us by the light of reason itself, the Church, instructed 
by the example and doctrine of her divine Author, has ever 
propagated and asserted; for she has ever made them the measure 
of her office and of her teaching to the Christian nations. As to 
morals, the laws of the Gospel not only immeasurably surpass the 

[93] LEO XIU 

wisdom of the heathen, but are an invitation and an introduction 
to a state of holiness unknown to the ancients; and., bringing man 
nearer to God, they make him at once the possessor of a more 
perfect liberty. Thus the powerful influence of the Church has ever 
been manifested in the custody and protection of the civil and 
political liberty of the people. The enumeration of its merits in 
this respect does not belong to our present purpose. It is sufficient 
to recall the fact that slavery, that old reproach of the heathen 
nations, was mainly abolished by the beneficent efforts of the 
Church. The impartiality of law and the true brotherhood of man 
were first asserted by Jesus Christ; and His Apostles re-echoed His 
voice when they declared that in future there was to be neither 
Jew, nor Gentile, nor Barbarian, nor Scythian, but all were brothers 
in Christ. So powerful, so conspicuous in this respect, is the influ- 
ence of the Church, that experience abundantly testifies how savage 
customs are no longer possible in any land where she has once set 
her foot; but that gentleness speedily takes the place of cruelty, 
and the light of truth quickly dispels the darkness of barbarism. 
Nor has the Church been less lavish in the benefits she has conferred 
on civilized nations in every age, either by resisting the tyranny of 
the wicked, or by protecting the innocent and helpless from injury; 
or finally by using her influence in the support of any form of 
government which commended itself to the citizens at home, be- 
cause of its justice, or was feared by their enemies without, because 
of its power. 

93. Moreover, the highest duty is to respect authority, and obedi- 
ently to submit to just law; and by this the members of a com- 
munity are effectually protected from the wrongdoing of evil men. 
Lawful power is from God, and whosoever resisteth authority re- 
sisteth the ordinance of God; 38 wherefore obedience is greatly en- 
nobled when subjected to an authority which is the most just and 
supreme of all. But where the power to command is wanting, or 
where a law is enacted contrary to reason, or to the eternal law, 
or to some ordinance of God, obedience is unlawful, lest, while 
obeying man, we become disobedient to God. Thus, an effectual 
barrier being opposed to tyranny, the authority in the State will 
not have all its own way, but the interests and rights of all will be 
safeguarded the rights of individuals, of domestic society, and 

38 Romans, XIII, 2. 



of all the members of the commonwealth; all being free to live 
according to law and right reason; and in this, as We have shown, 
true liberty really consists. 

94 For, once ascribe to human reason the only au- 
thority to decide what is true and what is good, and the real distinc- 
tion between good and evil is destroyed; honor and dishonor differ 
not in their nature, but in the opinion and judgment of each one; 
pleasure is the measure of what is lawful; and, given a code of 
morality which can have little or no power to' re-strain or quiet the 
unruly propensities of man, a way is naturally opened to universal 
corruption. With reference also to public affairs: authority is 
severed from the true and natural principle whence it derives all 
its efficacy for the common good; and the law determining what 
it is right to do and avoid doing is at the mercy of a majority. 
Now this is simply a road leading straight to tyranny. The empire 
of God over man and civil- society once repudiated, it follows that 
religion, as a public institution, can have no claim to exist, and that 
everything that belongs to religion will be treated with complete 
indifference. Furthermore, with ambitious designs on sovereignty, 
tumult and sedition will be common amongst the people; and when 
duty and conscience cease to appeal to them, there will be nothing 
to hold them back but force, which of itself alone is powerless to 
keep their covetousness in check. Of this we have almost daily 
evidence in the conflict with Socialists and members of other 
seditious societies, who labor unceasingly to bring about revolution. 
It is for those, then, who are capable of forming a just estimate 
of things to decide whether such doctrines promote that true liberty 
which alone is worthy of man, or rather pervert and destroy it. 

95 Religion, of its essence, is wonderfully helpful 

to the State. For, since it derives the prime origin of all power 
directly from God Himself, with grave authority it charges rulers 
to be mindful of their duty, to govern without injustice or severity, 
to rule their people kindly and with almost paternal charity; it 
admonishes subjects to be obedient to lawful authority, as to the 
ministers of God; and it binds them to their rulers, not merely by 
obedience, but by reverence and affection, forbidding all seditions 
and venturesome enterprises calculated to disturb public order and 
tranquillity, and cause greater restrictions to be put upon the liberty 
of the people. We need not mention how greatly religion conduces 


[96-97] LEO 

to pure morals, and pure morals to liberty. Reason shows, and his- 
tory confirms the fact, that the higher the morality of States, the 
greater are the liberty and wealth and power which they enjoy. 

96. We must now consider briefly liberty of speech, and liberty 
of the Press. It is hardly necessary to say that there can be no such 
right as this, if it be not used in moderation, and if it pass beyond 
the bounds and end of all true liberty. For right is a moral power 
which as We have before said and must again and again repeat 
it is absurd to suppose that nature has accorded indifferently to 
truth and falsehood, to justice and injustice. Men have a right 
freely and prudently to propagate throughout the State what things 
soever are true and honorable, so that as many as possible may 
possess them; but lying opinions, than which no mental plague is 
greater, and vices which corrupt the heart and moral life, should 
be diligently repressed by public authority, lest they insidiously work 
the ruin of the State. The excesses of an unbridled intellect, which 
unfailingly end in the oppression of the untutored multitude, are 
no less rightly controlled by the authority of the law than are the 
injuries inflicted by violence upon the weak. And this all the more 
surely, because by far the greater part of the community is either 
absolutely unable, or able only with great difficulty, to escape from 
illusions and deceitful subtleties, especially such as flatter the pas- 
sions. If unbridled license of speech and of writing be granted to 
all, nothing will remain sacred and inviolate; even the highest 
and truest mandates of nature, justly held to be the common and 
noblest heritage of the human race, will not be spared. Thus, truth 
being gradually obscured by darkness, pernicious and manifold 
error, as too of ten -happens, will easily prevail. Thus, too, license 
will gain what liberty loses; for liberty will ever be more free and 
secure, in proportion as license is kept in fuller restraint. In regard, 
however, to all matters of opinion which God leaves to man's free 
discussion, full liberty of thought and of speech is naturally within 
the right of every one; for such liberty never leads men to suppress 
the truth, but often to discover it and make it known. 

97. A like judgment must be passed upon what is called liberty 
of teaching. There can be no doubt that truth alone should imbue 
the minds of men; for in it are found the well-being, the end, and 
the perfection of every intelligent nature; and, therefore, nothing 
but truth should be taught both to the ignorant and to the edu- 


SAEPE NOS [98-100] 

cated, so as to bring knowledge .to those who have it not, and to 
preserve it in those who possess it. For this reason it is plainly 
the duty of all who teach to banish error from the mind, and by 
sure safeguards to close the entry to all false convictions. From this 
it follows, as is evident, that the liberty of which We have been 
speaking, is greatly opposed to reason, and tends absolutely to per- 
vert men's minds, inasmuch as it claims for itself the right of 
teaching whatever it pleases a liberty which the State cannot grant 
without failing in its duty. And the more so, because the authority 
of teachers has great weight with their hearers, who can rarely 
decide for themselves as to the truth or falsehood of the instruction 
given to them. 

98 Unless it be otherwise determined, by reason of 

some exceptional condition of things, it is expedient to take part 
in the administration of public affairs. And the Church approves 
of every one devoting his services to the common good, and doing 
all that he can for the defense, preservation and prosperity of his 

99. Neither does the Church condemn those who, if it can be 
done without violation of justice, wish to make their country inde- 
pendent of any foreign or despotic power. Nor does she blame 
those who wish to assign to the State the power of self-government, 
and to its citizens the greatest possible measure of prosperity. The 
Church has always most faithfully fostered civil liberty, and this 
was seen especially in Italy, in the municipal prosperity, and wealth, 
and glory, which were obtained at a time when the salutary power 
of the Church had spread, without opposition, to all parts of the 


The Pope desires to see Ireland free again but he de- 
plores the use of violence to obtain this freedom. 

June 24, 1888 

100 The condition of Ireland affects Us more than 

anyone, and We desire nothing more anxiously than to see the Irish 

39 Translation from Furey, Life of Leo XIII and History of His Pontificate, pp. 168-169. 
Original Latin, A.S.S., v. 21, pp. 4-5 (1888). 



at last, after having secured the peace and just prosperity they have 
merited, breathe freedom once again. We have never disputed 
their right to seek to better their condition; but can anyone be 
permitted to have recourse to crime as a means? Far from it; for, 
with the irruption of the passions and party political interests, good 
and evil are mingled in the same cause. We are constantly called 
upon to distinguish what is honorable from what is not so, and 
to turn Catholics away from everything that the rule of. Christian 
morality does not approve. . . . 

101. ... Our office forbade Us to tolerate that so many Cath- 
olics, whose salvation is especially entrusted to Us, should follow 
a dangerous and slippery path, better calculated to destroy every- 
thing than to assuage misfortune. The question must be looked 
at, then, in accordance with truth; and Ireland should recognize 
in that very decree Our love for her and Our desire that she pros- 
per, because nothing is more fatal to a cause, no matter how just it 
may be, than that it be defended by violence and injustice 


WORLD. 40 

The Pope frays for real peace, the peace of order. 
December 25, 1888 

102 You see, O Lord, how the winds blow from 

every quarter and how the sea swells in its violently throbbing 
waves. Command the winds and the waves, We beseech You Who 
alone can do it. Give to mankind the real peace which the world 
cannot give, the peace of order. Let men, through Your grace and 
acting on Your impulse, return to the order wished for, by making 
live again as they ought piety towards God, justice and charity 
towards our neighbor, temperance in regard to themselves, subduing 
the passions by reason. May Thy Kingdom come, and may those 
also who by vain toil seek far from You truth and salvation under- 
stand that they must submit to and obey You. Your laws are 
permeated with equity and paternal kindness, and You Yourself 
give us the power to live up to them with ease. Man's life on earth 

40 Translation from Furey, Life of Leo XIII and History of His Pontificate, p. 276. 
Original Latin, A.S.S., v. 21, p. 334 (1888). 

4 6 

NOSTIS ERR ORE M [103-104] 

is a struggle, but "You take that struggle into account and help 
man to triumph; You raise him up when he falls, and You crown 
him in his victory." 41 


Peace has its foundation in justice and charity and the 
Church has always promoted the practice of these two 

February 11, 1889 

103 And there is yet another consideration why the 

present is a most fitting opportunity. If ever there was a time when 
peace was unanimously desired by the world it is surely to-day, 
when words of peace, rest, and repose are on all lips. The sovereign 
princes and all those who in Europe guide public affairs declare 
that all they desire, that the one object of their aims, is to make 
sure of peace, and herein they speak with the full consent of all 
classes of society, for the hatred the nations have of war is daily 
more clearly shown. This hatred is a most proper one, for if war 
is sometimes necessary, it always brings in its train very many 
miseries. But how much more calamitous would it not be to-day, 
when the number of soldiers is so great, the progress of the military 
art so highly developed, and the number of instruments of destruc- 
tion so multiplied? Whenever We let Our thoughts rest on this, 
We feel Ourself filled more and more with charity for the Christian 
peoples, and We cannot keep from trembling for the dangers which 
threaten them. There is, therefore, nothing of more importance 
than to remove from Europe the danger of war, and all that is 
done with that object deserves to be considered as a contribution 
to the public safety. 

104. But the wish does not do much to render peace assured, 
and the mere desire for peace is not a sufficient guarantee. Again, 
the vast number of soldiers and the stupendous armaments may 
for a while prevent an enemy attacking, but they can never secure 
a sure and lasting peace. Moreover, armaments which are a menace 
are fitter rather to hasten than retard a conflict; they fill the mind 

41 Cf. St. Augustine, In psalmum 32, in Migne, P.L., v. 36, c. 279. 
* 2 Translation from The Tablet, v. 73, pp. 281-282 (February 23, 1889). Original 
Latin, A.S.S., v. 21, pp. 386-388 (1889). 


[105-108] LEO XIII 

with disquietude for the future, and among other drawbacks they 
have this, that they impose such burdens upon the nations that it 
is doubtful if war would not be more bearable. 

105. Wherefore We must seek for peace some basis more sound 
and more in accordance with nature; for if nature does not forbid 
one to defend one's rights by force, she does not permit that force 
should become the efficient cause of right. Since peace is based 
upon good order, it follows that, for empires as well as for individ- 
uals, concord should have her principal foundation in justice and 

1 06. To commit no wrong against another, to respect the 
sanctity of another's rights, to practice mutual trust and good will, 
these are indeed the unchanging and most lasting bonds of peace, 
whose virtue is such that she stifles even the germs of hatred and 

107. But God has made His Church guardian and mother of 
the two virtues of which We speak, on which account she has had 
and will have nothing closer to her heart than to uphold, to spread 
and to protect the laws of justice and charity. For this purpose she 
has overrun all parts of the earth; and all the world knows that, 
having tamed the barbarian races by inspiring them with love of 
justice, she has led them from the ferocity of their warlike habits to 
the practice of the arts of peace and civilization. To the little and to 
the great, to those who obey and to those who command, she alike 
imposes the duty of observing justice and of attacking no one wrong- 
fully. It is the Church who, in spite of distance, in spite of the differ- 
ences of races, has joined together all peoples by friendship and 
brotherly charity. Mindful ever of the laws and the example of her 
Divine Founder, Who desired to be called the King of Peace, and 
Whose birth was even announced in heavenly canticles of peace, she 
wishes men to rest in the beauty of peace, and she ceases not from 
praying to obtain of God that He will preserve the lives and the 
fortunes of the nations from the risks of war. As often as it was nec- 
essary, and as the circumstances permitted, she has labored with all 
her heart, by interposing her authority, to re-establish concord and 
the peace of States. 

1 08. These considerations and motives, most great and most 
holy, inspire Our actions, Venerable Brethren, and We obey them. 
Whatever events the future may bring forth, whatever may be the 


judgments or the actions of men, We shall always act in accordance 
with this rule, and from it We are convinced We shall never depart. 
In any case, if We cannot otherwise contribute to the preservation 
of peace, We shall still have this resource, which no one can take 
from Us, that We shall continue to have recourse to Him Who 
can recall the mind of man whence, and send it whither, He wills; 
and We shall earnestly beseech Him that, all fear of war being 
removed, and the regular order of things being, by His mercy, 
restored, He may grant Europe to rest upon true and firm foun- 


The citizen owes obedience both to God and to his 
country but in cases of conflict between these two pow- 
ers he must obey God rather than men. 

January 10, 1890 

109 But the man who has embraced the Christian 

faith, as in duty bound, is by that very fact a subject of the Church 
as one of the children born of her, and becomes a member of that 
greatest and holiest body, which it is the special charge of the 
Roman Pontiff to rule with supreme power, under its Invisible 
Head, Jesus Christ. 

1 10. Now, if the natural law enjoins us to love devotedly and 
to defend the country in which we had birth, and in which we 
were brought up, so that every good citizen hesitates not to face 
death for his native land, very much more is it the urgent duty of 
Christians to be ever quickened by like feelings toward the Church. 
For the Church is the holy city of the living God, born of God 
Himself, and by Him built up and established. Upon this earth 
indeed she accomplishes her pilgrimage, but by instructing and 
guiding men, she summons them to eternal happiness. We are 
bound, then, to love dearly the country whence we have received 
the means of enjoyment this mortal life affords, but we have a much 
more urgent obligation to love, with ardent love, the Church to 

43 Translation from The Great 'Encyclical Letters of Pope Leo XIII, pp. 183-186. 
Original Latin, A.S.S., v. 22, pp. 387-389 (1889-1890). 


which we owe the life of the soul, a life that will endure forever. 
For fitting it is to prefer the good of the soul to the well-being 
of the body, inasmuch as duties toward God are of a far more 
hallowed character than those toward men. 

in. Moreover, if we would judge aright, the supernatural love 
for the Church and the natural love of our own country proceed 
from the same eternal principle, since God Himself is their Author 
and originating Cause. Consequently, it follows that between the 
duties they respectively enjoin, neither can come into collision with 
the other. We can, certainly, and should love ourselves, bear our- 
selves kindly towards our fellow men, nourish affection for the 
State and the governing powers; but at the same time we can and 
must cherish towards the Church a feeling of filial piety, and love 
God with the deepest love of which we are capable. The order of 
precedence of these duties is, however, at times, either under stress 
of public calamities, or through the perverse will of men, inverted. 
For instances occur where the State seems to require from men as 
subjects one thing, and religion, from men as Christians, quite 
another; and this in reality without any other ground, than that 
the rulers of the State either hold the sacred power of the Church 
of no account, or endeavor to subject it to their own will. Hence 
arises a conflict, and an occasion, through such conflict, of virtue 
being put to the proof. The two powers are confronted and urge 
their behests in a contrary sense; to obey both is wholly impossible. 
No man can serve two masters?* for to please the one amounts 
to contemning the other, 

112. As to which should be preferred no one ought to hesitate 
for an instant. It is a high crime indeed to withdraw allegiance 
from God in order to please men; an act of consummate wicked- 
ness to break the laws of Jesus Christ, in order to yield obedience 
to earthly rulers, or, under pretext of keeping the civil law, to ignore 
the rights of the Church; we ought to obey God rather than men^ 
This answer, which of old Peter and the other Apostles were used 
to give the civil authorities who enjoined unrighteous things, we 
must, in like circumstances, give always and without hesitation. 
No better citizen is there, whether in time of peace or war, than 
the Christian who is mindful of his duty; but such a one should 

44 'Matthew, VT, 24. 
45 Acts, V, 29. 


QUUM GRATA [113-117] 

be ready to suffer all things, even death itself, rather than abandon 
the cause of God or of the Church. 

113. Hence they who blame, and call by die name of sedition, 
this steadfastness of attitude in the choice of duty, have not rightly 
apprehended the force and nature of true law. . . . 

114. Hallowed, therefore, in the minds of Christians is the very 
idea of public authority, in which they recognize some likeness 
and symbol as it were of the divine Majesty, even when it is exer- 
cised by one unworthy. A just and due reverence to the laws abides 
in them, not from force and threats, but from a consciousness of 
duty; for God hath not given us the spirit of fear. 46 

115. But if the laws of the State are manifestly at variance with 
the divine law, containing enactments hurtful to the Church, or 
conveying injunctions adverse -to the duties imposed by religion, 
or if they violate in the person of the Supreme Pontiff, the authority 
of Jesus Christ, then truly, to resist becomes a positive duty, to obey, 
a crime; a crime, moreover, combined with misdemeanor against 
the State itself, inasmuch as every offense leveled against religion 
is also a sin against the State. . . . 

116. Wherefore, to love both countries, that of earth below and 
that of heaven above, yet in such mode that the love of our heavenly 
surpass the love of our earthly home, and that human laws be never 
set above the divine law, is the essential duty of Christians, and the 
fountain-head, so to say, from which all other duties spring 


The Pope exhorts the Assembly to execute its resolu- 
tions in peace and concord. 

June 14, 1890 

117 It is now needful that the unanimity and wisdom 

which are displayed in your resolutions should be equalled by the 
energy and the concord which you should show in their perform- 
ance. We have every reason to expect it, for all that you have 
hitherto done fills Us with glad hopes for the future. You have 

46 II Timothy, I, 7. 

47 Translation from The Tablet, v. 76, p. 52 (July 12, 1890). Original Latin, Acta 
Leonis XIII, v. 10, p. 153. 


[118-119] LEO XIII 

increased Our hope by your protest that your love for the common 
Mother of the faithful, the Holy Church, is not lessened by your 
love of country. You need have no fear that your duties to your 
country are likely to be lessened by your devotion to the Church. 
The Founder and Master of both, Who is God, has sweetly dis- 
posed all things that the good which you do to safeguard the honor 
of the Church may bring forth on the country of which you are a 
citizen the most abundant fruits of salvation. 


Leo XIII enunciates the principles that must govern 
peaceful relations between capital and labor. 

May 15, 1891 

1 1 8. Once the passion for revolutionary change was aroused 
a passion long disturbing governments it was bound to follow 
sooner or later that eagerness for change would pass from the 
political sphere over into the related field of economics. In fact, new 
developments in industry, new techniques striking out on new paths, 
changed relations of employer and employee, abounding wealth 
among a very small number and destitution among the masses, 
increased self-reliance on the part of workers as well as a closer bond 
of union with one another, and, in addition to all this, a decline in 
morals have caused conflict to break forth. The momentous nature 
of the questions involved in this conflict is evident from the fact 
that it keeps men's minds in anxious expectation, occupying the 
talents of the learned, the discussions of the wise and experienced, 
the assemblies of the people, the judgment of lawmakers, and the 
deliberations of rulers, so that now no topic more strongly holds 
men's interests. 

119. Therefore, Venerable Brethren, with the cause of the 
Church and the common welfare before Us, We have thought it 
advisable, following Our custom on other occasions when We issued 
to you the Encyclicals On Political Power, On Human Liberty, On 
the Christian Constitution of States, and others of similar nature, 
which seemed opportune to refute erroneous opinions, that We 

48 Translation from Two Basic Social Encyclicals. Original Latin, A.A.S., v. 23, pp. 
641-670 (1891). 


RERUM NOVARUM [ 120-122] 

ought to do the same now, and for the same reasons, On the Con- 
dition of Workers. We have on occasion touched more than once 
upon this subject. In this Encyclical, however, consciousness of Our 
Apostolic office admonishes Us to treat the entire question thor- 
oughly, in order that the principles may stand out in clear light, 
and the conflict may thereby be brought to an end as required by 
truth and equity. 

120. The problem is difficult to resolve and is not free from 
dangers. It is hard indeed to fix the boundaries of the rights and 
duties within which the rich and the proletariat those who furnish 
material things and those who furnish work ought to be restricted 
in relation to each other. The controversy is truly dangerous, for 
in various places it is being twisted by turbulent and crafty men to 
pervert judgment as to truth and seditiously to incite the masses. 

121. In any event, We see clearly, and all are agreed that the 
poor must be speedily and fittingly cared for, since the great majority 
of them live undeservedly in miserable and wretched conditions. 
After the old trade guilds had been destroyed in the last century, 
and no protection was substituted in their place, and when public 
institutions and legislation had cast off traditional religious teaching, 
it gradually came about that the present age handed over the 
workers, each alone and defenseless, to the inhumanity of employers 
and the unbridled greed of competitors. A devouring usury, although 
often condemned by the Church, but practiced nevertheless under 
another form by avaricious and grasping men, has increased the 
evil; and in addition the whole process of production as well as trade 
in every kind of goods has been brought almost entirely under the 
power of a few, so that a very few rich and exceedingly rich men 
have laid a yoke almost of slavery on the unnumbered masses of 
non-owning workers. 

122. To cure this evil, the Socialists, exciting the envy of the 
poor toward the rich, contend that it is necessary to do away with 
private possession of goods and in its place to make the goods of 
individuals common to all, and that the men who preside over a 
municipality or wko direct the entire State should act as adminis- 
trators of these goods. They hold that, by such a transfer of private 
goods from private individuals to the community, they can cure the 
present evil through dividing wealth and benefits equally among the 
citizens. But their program is so unsuited for terminating the con- 


[123-125] LEO XIII 

flict that it actually injures the workers themselves. Moreover, it is 
highly unjust, because it violates the rights of lawful owners, per- 
verts the functions of the State, and throws governments into utter 

123. Clearly the essential reason why those who engage in any 
gainful occupation undertake labor, and at the same time the end 
to which workers immediately look, is to procure property for them- 
selves and to retain it by individual right as theirs and as their very 
own. When the worker places his energy and his labor at the dis- 
posal of another, he does so for the purpose of getting the means 
necessary for livelihood. He seeks in return for the work done, 
accordingly, a true and full right not only to demand his wage but 
to dispose of it as he sees fit. Therefore, if he saves something by 
restricting expenditures and invests his savings in a piece of land 
in order to keep the fruit of his thrift more safe, a holding of this 
kind is certainly nothing else than his wage under a different form; 
and on this account land which the worker thus buys is necessarily 
under his full control as much as the wage which he earned by his 
labor. But, as is obvious, it is clearly in this that the ownership of 
movable and immovable goods consists. Therefore, inasmuch as 
the Socialists seek to transfer the goods of private persons to the 
community at large, they make the lot of all wage earners worse, 
because in abolishing the freedom to dispose of wages they take 
away from them by this very act the hope and the opportunity of 
increasing their property and of securing advantages for themselves. 

124. But, what is of more vital concern, they propose a remedy 
openly in conflict with justice, inasmuch as nature confers on man 
the right to possess things privately as his own 

125. Rightly, therefore, the human race as a whole, moved in 
no wise by the dissenting opinions of a few, and observing nature 
carefully, has found in the law of nature itself the basis of the dis- 
tribution of goods, and, by the practice of all ages, has consecrated 
private possession as something best adapted to man's nature and 
to peaceful and tranquil living together. Now civil laws, which, 
when just, derive their power from the natural* law itself, confirm 
and, even by the use of force, protect this right of which We speak. 
And this same right has been sanctioned by the authority of the 
divine law, which forbids us most strictly even to desire what 
belongs to another. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wije, nor 


RERUM NOVARUM [126-128] 

his house, nor his field, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, 
nor anything that is his^ 

126. Rights of this kind which reside in individuals are seen 
to have much greater validity when viewed as fitted into and con- 
nected with the obligations of human beings in family life. 

127. There is no question that in choosing a state of life it is 
within the power and discretion of individuals to prefer the one or 
the other state, either to follow the counsel of Jesus Christ regarding 
virginity or to bind oneself in marriage. No law of man can abolish 
the natural and primeval right of marriage, or in any way set aside 
the chief purpose of matrimony established in the beginning by the 
authority of God: Increase and multiply? Behold, therefore, the 
family, or rather the society of the household, a very small society 
indeed, but a true one, and older than any polity! For that reason 
it must have certain rights and duties of its own entirely inde- 
pendent of the State. Thus, right of ownership, which We have 
shown to be bestowed on individual persons by nature, must be 
assigned to man in his capacity as head of a family. Nay rather, 
this right is all the stronger, since the human person in family life 
embraces much more. 

128. It is a most sacred law of nature that the father of a family 
see that his offspring are provided with all the necessities of life, 
and nature even prompts him to desire to provide and to furnish 
his children, who, in fact reflect and in a sense continue his person, 
with the means of decently protecting themselves against harsh 
fortune in the uncertainties of life. He can do this surely in no 
other way than by owning fruitful goods to transmit by inheritance 
to his children. As already noted, the family, like the State, is by 
the same token a society in the strictest sense of the term, and it is 
governed by its own proper authority, namely, by that of the father. 
Wherefore, assuming, of course, that those limits be observed which 
are fixed by its immediate purpose, the family assuredly possesses 
rights, at least equal with those of civil society, in respect to choosing 
and employing the things necessary for its protection and its just 
liberty. We say "at least equal" because, inasmuch as domestic living 
together is prior both ia thought and in fact to uniting into a Pli&> 
it follows that its rights and duties are also prior and more in con- 

49 Deuteronomy, V, 21. 

50 Genesis, I, 28. 


[129-131] LEO XIXI 

formity with nature. But if citizens, if families, after becoming 
participants in common life and society, were to experience injury 
in a commonwealth instead of help, impairment of their rights 
instead of protection, society would be something to be repudiated 
rather than to be sought for. 

129. To desire, therefore, that the civil power should enter 
arbitrarily into the privacy of homes is a great and pernicious error. 
If a family perchance is in such extreme difficulty and is so com- 
pletely without plans that it is entirely unable to help itself, it is 
right that the distress be remedied by public aid, for each individual 
family is a part of the community. Similarly, if anywhere there 
is a grave violation of mutual rights within the family walls, public 
authority shall restore to each his right: for this is not usurping the 
rights of citizens, but protecting and confirming them with just 
and due care. Those in charge of public affairs, however, must stop 
here: nature does not permit them to go beyond these limits. 
Paternal authority is such that it can be neither abolished nor 
absorbed by the State, because it has the same origin in common 
with that of man's own life. "Children are a part of their father," 
and, as it were, a kind of extension of the father's person; and, 
strictly speaking, not through themselves, but through the medium 
of the family society in which they are begotten, they enter into and 
participate in civil society. And for the very reason that children 
"are by nature part of their father . . . before they have the use of 
free will, they are kept under the care of their parents." 51 Inasmuch 
as the Socialists, therefore, disregard care by parents and in its place 
introduce care by the State, they act against natural justice and dis- 
solve the structure of the home. 

130. And apart from the injustice involved, it is also only too 
evident what turmoil and disorder would obtain among all classes; 
and what a harsh and odious enslavement of citizens would result! 
The door would be open to mutual envy, detraction and dissension. 
If incentives to ingenuity and skill in individual persons were to be 
abolished, the very fountains of wealth would necessarily dry up; 
and the equality conjured up by the Socialist imagination would, in 
reality, be nothing but uniform wretchedness and meanness for one 
and all, without distinction. 

131. From all these considerations, it is perceived that the fun- 

51 St. Thomas, Summa Theologica, 2a aae, Q.x, art. 12. 

5 6 

RERUM NOVARUM [132-134] 

damental principle of Socialism which would make all possessions 
public property is to be utterly rejected because it injures the very 
ones whom it seeks to help, contravenes the .natural rights of indi- 
vidual persons, and throws the functions of the State and public 
peace into confusion. Let it be regarded, therefore, as established 
that in seeking help for the masses this principle before all is to be 
considered as basic, namely, that private ownership must be pre- 
served inviolate. With this understood, We shall explain whence 
the desired remedy is to be sought. 

132. We approach the subject with confidence and surely by 
Our right, for the question under consideration is certainly one for 
which no satisfactory solution will be found unless religion and the 
Church have been called upon to aid. Moreover, since the safe- 
guarding of religion and all things within the jurisdiction of the 
Church is especially Our stewardship, silence on Our part might 
be regarded as failure in Our duty. 

133. Assuredly, a question as formidable as this requires the 
attention and effort of others as well, namely, the heads of the 
State, employers and the rich, and, finally, those in whose behalf 
efforts are being made, the workers themselves. Yet without hesi- 
tation We affirm that if the Church is disregarded, human striving 
will be in vain. Manifestly, it is the Church which draws from the 
Gospel the teachings through which the struggle can be composed 
entirely or, after its bitterness is removed, can certainly become 
more tempered. It is the Church, again, that strives not only to 
instruct the mind but to regulate by her precepts the life and 
morals of individuals, that ameliorates the condition of the work- 
ers through her numerous and beneficent institutions, and that 
wishes and aims to have the thought and energy of all classes of 
society united to this end, that the interests of the workers be 
protected as fully as possible. And to accomplish this purpose she 
holds that the laws and the authority of the State, within reason- 
able limits, ought to be employed. 

134. Therefore, let it be laid down in the first place that a 
condition of human existence must be borne with, namely, that 
in civil society the lowest cannot be made equal with the highest. 
Socialists, of course, agitate the contrary, but all struggling against 
nature is vain. There are truly very great and very many natural 
differences among men. Neither the talents, nor the skill, nor the 


[135] LEO xiii 

health, nor the capacities of all are the same, and unequal fortune 
follows of itself upon necessary inequality in respect to these en- 
dowments. And clearly this condition of things is adapted to benefit 
both individuals and the community; for to carry on its affairs 
community life requires varied aptitudes and diverse services, and 
to perform these diverse services men are impelled most by differ- 
ences in individual property holdings. So far as bodily labor is 
concerned, man even before the Fall was not destined to be wholly 
idle; but certainly what his will at that time would have freely 
embraced to his soul's delight, necessity afterwards forced him to 
accept, with a feeling of irksomeness for the expiation of his guilt. 
Cursed be the earth in thy wor\: in thy labor thou shalt eat of it 
all the days of thy life?* Likewise, there is to be no end on earth 
of other hardships, for the evil consequences of sin are hard, trying, 
and bitter to bear, and will necessarily accompany men even to 
the end of life. Therefore, to suffer and endure is human, and 
although men may strive in all possible ways, they will never be 
able by any power or art wholly to banish such tribulations from 
human life. If any claim they can do this, if they promise the poor 
in their misery a life free from all sorrow and vexation and filled 
with repose and perpetual pleasures, they actually impose upon 
these people and perpetrate a fraud which will ultimately lead to 
evils greater than the present. The best course is to view human 
affairs as they are and, as We have stated, at the same time to seek 
appropriate relief for these troubles elsewhere. 

135. It is a capital evil with respect to the question We are 
discussing to take for granted that the one class of society is of itself 
hostile to the others, as if nature had set rich and poor against each 
other to fight fiercely in implacable war. This is so abhorrent to 
reason and truth that the exaqt opposite is true; for just as in the 
human body the different members harmonize with one another, 
whence arises that disposition ojfr parts and proportion in the hu- 
man figure rightly called symmetry, so likewise nature has com- 
manded in the case of the State that the two classes mentioned 
should agree harmoniously and should properly form equally bal- 
anced counterparts to each other. Each needs the other completely : 
neither capital can do without labor, nor labor without capital. 
Concord begets beauty and order in things. Conversely, from per- 

62 Genesis, III, 17, 



petual strife there must arise disorder accompanied by bestial 
cruelty. But for putting an end to conflict and for cutting away 
its very roots, there is wondrous and multiple power in Christian 
institutions. And first and foremost, the entire body of religious 
teaching and practice, of which the Church is the interpreter and 
guardian, can pre-eminently bring together and unite the rich and 
the poor by recalling these two classes of society to their mutual 
duties, and in particular to those duties which derive from justice. 
Among these duties the following concern the poor and the work- 
ers: To perform entirely and conscientiously whatever work has 
been voluntarily and equitably agreed upon; not in any way to 
injure the property or to harm the person of employers; in protect- 
ing their own interests, to refrain from violence and never to 
engage in rioting; not to associate with vicious men who craftily 
hold out exaggerated hopes and make huge promises, a course 
usually ending in vain regrets and in the destruction of wealth. 
The following duties, on the other hand, concern rich men and 
employers: workers are not to be treated as slaves; justice demands 
that the dignity of human personality be respected in them, en- 
nobled as it has been through what we call the Christian character. 
If we hearken to natural reason and to Christian philosophy, gain- 
ful occupations are not a mark of shame to man, but rather of 
respect, as they provide him with an honorable means of supporting 
life. It is shameful and inhuman, however, to use men as things 
for gain and to put no more value on them than what they are 
worth in muscle and energy. Likewise, it is enjoined that the 
religious interests and the spiritual well-being of the workers re- 
ceive proper consideration. Wherefore, it is the duty of employers 
to see that the worker is free for adequate periods to attend to his 
religious obligations; not to expose anyone to corrupting influences 
or the enticements of sin; and in no way to alienate him from care 
for his family and the practice of thrift. Likewise, more work is 
not to be imposed than strength can endure, nor that kind of work 
which is unsuited to a worker's age or sex. Among the most im- 
portant duties of employers the principal one is to give every 
worker what is justly due him. Assuredly, to establish a rule of 
pay in accord with justice, many factors must be taken into ac- 
count. But, in general, the rich and employers should remember 
that no laws, either human or divine, permit them for their own 


[136] LEO XIII 

profit to oppress the needy and the wretched or to seek gain from 
another's want. To defraud anyone of the wage due him is a great 
crime that calls down avenging wrath from heaven. Be hold f the 
wages of the laborers . . . which have been \ept bac\ by you un- 
justly } cry out: and their cry has entered into the ears of the Lord 
of Hosts?* Finally, the rich must religiously avoid harming in any 
way the savings of the workers either by coercion, or by fraud, or 
by the arts of usury; and the more for this reason, that the workers 
are not sufficiently protected against injustices and violence, and 
their property, being so meagre, ought to be regarded as all the 
more sacred* Could not the observance alone of the foregoing laws 
remove the bitterness and the causes of conflict? 

136. But the Church, with Jesus Christ as her Teacher and 
Leader, seeks greater things than this; namely, by commanding 
something more perfect, she aims at joining the two social classes 
to each other in closest neighborliness and friendship. We cannot 
understand and evaluate mortal things rightly unless the mind 
reflects upon the other life, the life which is immortal. If this 
other life indeed were taken away, the form and true notion of 
the right would immediately perish; nay, this entire world would 
become an enigma insoluble to man. Therefore, what we learn 
from nature itself as our teacher is also a Christian dogma and on it 
the whole system and structure of religion rests, as it were, on 
its main foundation; namely, that, when we have left this life, 
only then shall we truly begin to live. God has not created man 
for the fragile and transitory things of this world, but for heaven 
and eternity, and He has ordained the earth as a place of exile, 
not as our permanent home. Whether you abound in, or whether 
you lack, riches and all the other things which are called good, is 
of no importance in relation to eternal happiness. But how you 
use them, that is truly of utmost importance. Jesus Christ by His 
"plentiful redemption" has by no means taken away the various 
tribulations with which mortal life is interwoven, but has so clearly 
transformed them into incentives to virtue and sources of merit 
that no mortal can attain eternal reward unless he follow the 
blood-stained footsteps of Jesus Christ. // we endure, we shall also 
reign with Him?* By the labors and sufferings which He volun- 

Timothy, U, 12. 



tarily accepted. He has wondrously lightened the burden of suffer- 
ing and labor, and not only by His example but also by His grace 
and by holding before us the hope of eternal reward, He has made 
endurance of sorrows easier: for our present light affliction, which 
is for the moment, prepares for us an eternal weight of glory that 
is beyond all measured 

137. Therefore, the well-to-do are admonished that wealth does 
not give surcease of sorrow, and that wealth is of no avail unto 
the happiness of eternal life but is rather a hindrance; 56 that the 
threats 57 pronounced by Jesus Christ, so unusual coming from Him, 
ought to cause the rich to fear; and that on one day the strictest 
account for the use of wealth must be rendered to God as Judge. 
On the use of wealth we have the excellent and extremely weighty 
teaching, which, although found in a rudimentary stage in pagan 
philosophy, the Church has handed down in a completely devel- 
oped form and causes to be observed not only in theory but in 
every-day life. The foundation of this teaching rests on this, that 
the just ownership of money is distinct from the just use of money. 
To own goods privately, as We saw above, is a right natural to 
man, and to exercise this right, especially in life in society, is not 
only lawful, but clearly necessary. "It is lawful for man to own his 
own things. It is even necessary for human life." 58 But if the 
question be asked: How ought man use his possessions? the Church 
replies without hesitation: "As to this point, man ought not re- 
gard external goods as his own, but as common so that, in fact, a 
person should readily share them when he sees others in need. 
Wherefore the Apostle says: Charge the rich of this world . . . to 
give readily, to share with others.'' 59 No one, certainly, is obliged 
to assist others out of what is required for his own necessary use 
or for that of his family, or even to give to others what he himself 
needs to maintain his station in life becomingly and decently : "No 
one is obliged to live unbecomingly." co But when the demands of 
necessity and propriety have been sufficiently met, it is a duty to 
give to the poor out of that which remains. Give that which re- 

55 II Corinthians, IV, 17. 
** Matthew, XIX, 23-24. 

57 Luke, VI, 24-25. 

58 St. Thomas, Summa Theologica, 2a 2ae, Q. Ixvi, art. 2. 

59 Ibid., 2a 2ae, Q. Ixv, art. 2. 

60 Ibid., 2a 2ae, Q. xxxii, art. 6. 


[138] LEO XIII 

mains as alms. 61 These are duties not of justice, except in cases of 
extreme need, but of Christian charity, which obviously cannot 
be enforced by legal action. But the laws and judgments of men 
yield precedence to the law and judgment of Christ the Lord, Who 
in many ways urges the practice of alms-giving: It is more blessed 
to give than to receive?* and Who will judge a kindness done or 
denied to the poor as done or denied to Himself. As long as you 
did it for one of these, the least of My brethren you did it for MeS^ 
The substance of all this is the following: whoever has received 
from the bounty of God a greater share of goods, whether corporeal 
and external, or of the soul, has received them for this purpose, 
namely, that he employ them for his own perfection and, likewise, 
as a servant of Divine Providence, for the benefit of others. "There- 
fore, he that hath talent, let him constantly see to it that he be not 
silent; he that hath an abundance of goods, let him be on the 
watch that he grow not slothful in the generosity of mercy; he 
that hath a trade whereby he supports himself, let him be especially 
eager to share with his neighbor the use and benefit thereof." 64 

138. Those who lack fortune's goods are taught by the Church 
that, before God as Judge, poverty is no disgrace, and that no one 
should be ashamed because he makes his living by toil. And Jesus 
Christ has confirmed this by fact and by deed, Who for the salva- 
tion of men, being rich, became poor; Q * and although He was the 
Son of God and God Himself, yet He willed to seem and to be 
thought the son of a carpenter; nay, He even did not disdain to 
spend a great part of His life at the work of a carpenter. If not 
this the carpenter f the Son of Mary? QQ Those who contemplate 
this Divine example will more easily understand these truths: 
true dignity and excellence in men resides in moral living, that is, 
in virtue; virtue is the common inheritance of man, attainable 
equally by the humblest and the mightiest, by the rich and the 
poor; and the reward of eternal happiness will follow upon virtue 
and merit alone, regardless of the person in whom they may be 
found. Nay, rather the favor of God Himself seems to incline more 

61 Lttfa XI, 41. 
** Acts, XX, 35. 
QZ Matthew, XXV, 40. 

64 St. Gregory the Great, In Evavgelmm, HomiUa IX, n. 7. 

65 II Corinthians, VIII, 9. 

k, VI, 3. 


RERUM NOVARUM [139-140] 

toward the unfortunate as a class; for Jesus Christ calls the poor 67 
blessed, and He invites most lovingly all who are in labor or sor- 
row 68 to come to Him for solace, embracing with special love the 
lowly and those harassed by injustice. At the realization of these 
things the proud spirit of the rich is easily brought down, and the 
downcast heart of the afflicted is lifted up; the former are moved 
toward kindness, the latter, toward reasonableness in their de- 
mands. Thus the distance between the classes which pride seeks is 
reduced, and it will easily be brought to pass that the two classes, 
with hands clasped in friendship, will be united in heart. 

139. Yet, if they obey Christian teachings, not merely friend- 
ship but brotherly love also will bind them to each other. They 
will feel and understand that all men indeed have been created 
by God, their Common Father; that all strive for the same object of 
good, which is God Himself, Who alone can communicate to both 
men and angels perfect and absolute happiness; that all equally 
have been redeemed by the grace of Jesus Christ and restored to 
the dignity of the sons of God, so that they are clearly united by 
the bonds of brotherhood not only with one another but also with 
Christ the Lord, the firstborn among many brethren; and further, 
that the goods of nature and the gifts of divine grace belong in 
common and without distinction to all human kind, and that no 
one, unless he is unworthy, will be deprived of the inheritance 
of heaven. But if we are sons, we are also heirs: heirs indeed of 
God and joint heirs with Christ? Such is the economy of duties 
and rights according to Christian philosophy. Would it not seem 
that all conflict would soon cease wherever this economy were to 
prevail in civil society? 

140. Wherefore, if human society is to be healed, only a return 
to Christian life and institutions will heal it. In the case of decaying 
societies, they are most correctly advised that, if they wish to be 
regenerated, they .must be recalled to their origins. For the perfec- 
tion of all associations is this, namely, to work for and to attain 
the purpose for which they were formed, so that all social actions 
should be inspired by the same principle which brought the society 
itself into being. Wherefore, turning away from the original pur- 

** Matthew, V, 3. 
69 Romans, VIII, 17. 


pose is corruption, while going back to this purpose is recovery. 
And just as we affirm this as unquestionably true of the entire 
body of the commonwealth, in like manner we affirm it of that 
order of citizens who sustain life by labor and who constitute the 
vast majority of society. 

141. But it must not be supposed that the Church so concen- 
trates her energies on caring for souls as to overlook things which 
pertain to mortal and earthly life. As regards the non-owning 
workers specifically, she desires and strives that they rise from their 
most wretched state and enjoy better conditions. And to achieve 
this result she makes no small contribution by the very fact that 
she calls men to and trains them in virtue. For when Christian 
morals are completely observed, they yield of themselves a certain 
measure of prosperity to material existence, because they win the 
favor of God, the Source and Fountain of all goods; because they 
restrain the twin plagues of life excessive desire for wealth and 
thirst 70 for pleasure which too often make man wretched amidst 
the very abundance of riches; and because finally, Christian morals 
make men content with a moderate livelihood and make them 
supplement income by thrift, removing them far from the vices 
which swallow up both modest sums and huge fortunes, and dissi- 
pate splendid inheritances. 

142. But, in addition, the Church provides directly for the well- 
being of the non-owning workers by instituting and promoting 
activities which she knows to be suitable to relieve their distress. 
Nay, even in the field of works of mercy, she has always so excelled 
that she is highly praised by her very enemies. The force of mutual 
charity among the first Christians was such that the wealthier very 
often divested themselves of their riches to aid others; wherefore: 
Nor was there anyone among them in wantJ^ To the deacons, an 
order founded expressly for this purpose, the Apostles assigned the 
duty of dispensing alms claily; and the Apostle, Paul, although 
burdened with the care of all the churches, did not hesitate to 
spend himself on toilsome journeys in order to bring alms person- 
ally to the poorer Christians. Monies of this kind, contributed 
voluntarily by the Christians in every assembly, Tertullian calls 
"piety's deposit fund," because they were expended "to support 

T0 1 Timothy, VI, 10. 
n Acts, IV, 34- 


RERUM NOVARUM [ I 43- J 45] 

and bury poor people, to supply the wants of orphan boys and 
girls without means of support, of aged household servants, and of 
such, too, as had suffered shipwreck." 72 

143. Thence, gradually there came into existence that patri- 
mony which the Church has guarded with religious care as the 
property of the poor. Nay, even disregarding the feeling of shame 
associated with begging, she provided aid for the wretched poor. 
For, as the Common Parent of rich and poor, with charity every- 
where stimulated to the highest degree, she founded religious soci- 
eties and numerous other useful bodies, so that, with the aid which 
these furnished, there was scarcely any form of human misery that 
went uncared for. And yet many today go so far as to condemn 
the Church, as the ancient pagans once did, for such outstanding 
charity, and would substitution lieu thereof a system of benevolence 
established by the laws of the State. But no human devices can 
ever be found to supplant Christian charity, which gives itself en- 
tirely for the benefit of others. This virtue belongs to the Church 
alone, for, unless it is derived from the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, 
it is in no wise a virtue; and whosoever departs from the Church 
wanders far from Christ. 

144. But there can be no question that, to attain Our purpose, 
those helps also which are within the power of men are necessary. 
Absolutely all who are concerned with the matter must, according 
to their capacity, bend their efforts to this same end and work for 
it. And this activity has a certain likeness to Divine Providence 
governing the world; for generally we see effects flow from the 
concert of all the elements upon which as causes these effects de- 
pend. But it is now in order to inquire what portion of the remedy 
should be expected from the State. By State here We understand 
not the form of government which this or that people has, but 
rather that form which right reason in accordance with nature 
requires and the teachings of Divine Wisdom approve, matters 
that We have explained specifically in Our Encyclical On the Chris- 
tian Constitution of States. 

145. Therefore, those governing the State ought primarily to 
devote themselves to the service of individual groups and of the 
whole commonwealth, and through the entire scheme of laws and 
institutions to cause both public and individual well-being to de- 

72 Apologia Secunda, XXXIX. 


[146] LEO XIII 

velop spontaneously out of the very structure and administration 
of the State. For this is the duty of wise statesmanship and the 
essential office of those in charge of the State. Now, States are made 
prosperous especially by wholesome morality, properly ordered 
family life, protection of religion and justice, moderate imposition 
and equitable distribution of public burdens, progressive develop- 
ment of industry and trade, thriving agriculture, and by all other 
things of this nature, which, the more actively they are promoted, 
the better and happier the life of the citizens is destined to be. 
Therefore, by virtue of these things, it is within the competence of 
the rulers of the State that, as they benefit other groups, they also 
improve in particular the condition of the workers. Furthermore, 
they do this with full right and without laying themselves open to 
any charge of unwarranted interference. For the State is bound by 
the very law of its office to serve the common interest. And the 
richer the benefits which come from this general providence on the 
part of the State, the less necessary it will be to experiment with 
other measures for the well-being of workers. 

146. This ought to be considered, as it touches the question 
more deeply; namely, that the State has one basic purpose for 
existence, which embraces in common the highest and the lowest 
of its members. Non-owning workers are unquestionably citizens 
by nature in virtue of the same right as the rich; that is, true and 
vital parts whence, through the medium of families, the body of the 
State is constituted; and it hardly need be added that they are by 
far the greatest number in every urban area. Since it would be 
quite absurd to look out for one portion of the citizens and to 
neglect another, it follows that public authority ought to exercise 
due care in safe-guarding the well-being and the interests of non- 
owning workers. Unless this is done, justice, which commands that 
everyone be given his own, will be violated. Wherefore St. Thomas 
says wisely: "Even as part and whole are in a certain way the same, 
so, too, that which pertains to the whole, pertains in a certain way 
to the part also." 73 Consequently, among the numerous and 
weighty duties of rulers who would serve their people well, this is 
first and foremost: namely, that they protect equitably each and 
every class of citizens, maintaining inviolate that justice especially 
which is called distributive. 
73 Summa Theologica, 2a 2ae, Q. Ixi, art. i ad 2, 


RERUM NOVARUM [147-148] 

147. Although all citizens, without exception, are obliged to 
contribute something to the sum-total of common goods, some 
share of which naturally goes back to individuals, yet all can by 
no means contribute the same amount and in equal degree. What- 
ever the vicissitudes that occur in the forms of government, there 
will always be those differences in the condition of citizens without 
which society could neither exist nor be conceived. It is altogether 
necessary that there be some who dedicate themselves to the 
service of the State, who make laws, who dispense justice, and, 
finally, by whose counsel and authority civil and military affairs 
are administered. These men, as is clear, play the chief role in the 
State, and among every people are to be regarded as occupying first 
place, because they work for the common good most directly and 
pre-eminently. On the other hand, those engaged in some calling 
benefit the State, but not in the same way as the men just men- 
tioned, nor by performing the same dudes; yet they, too, in a high 
degree, although less directly, serve the public weal. Assuredly, 
since social good must be of such a character that men through its 
acquisition are made better, it must necessarily be founded chiefly 
on virtue. Nevertheless, an abundance of corporeal and external 
goods is likewise a characteristic of a well constituted State, "the 
use of which goods is necessary for the practice of virtue." 74 To 
produce these goods the labor of the workers, whether they expend 
their skill and strength on farms or in factories, is most efficacious 
and necessary. Nay, in this respect, their energy and effectiveness 
are so important that it is incontestable that the wealth of nations 
originates from no other source than from the labor of workers. 
Equity, therefore, commands that public authority show proper 
concern for the worker so that from what he contributes to the 
common good he may receive what will enable him, housed, 
clothed and secure, to live his life without hardship. Whence, it 
follows that all those measures ought to be favored which seem in 
any way capable of benefiting the condition of workers. Such solici- 
tude is so far from injuring anyone, that it is destined rather to 
benefit all, because it is of absolute interest to the State that those 
citizens should not be miserable in every respect from whom such 
necessary goods proceed. 

148. It is not right, as We have said, for either the citizen or 

r4 St. Thomas, De Regimine Principum, I, c. 15. 

6 7 

[l49] LEO XIII 

the family to be absorbed by the State; it is proper that the individ- 
ual and the family should be permitted to retain their freedom 
of action, so far as this is possible without jeopardizing the common 
good and without injuring anyone. Nevertheless, those who govern 
must see to it that they protect the community and its constituent 
parts: the community, because nature has entrusted its safeguarding 
to the sovereign power in the State to such an extent that the pro- 
tection of the public welfare is not only the supreme law, but is the 
entire cause and reason for sovereignty; and the constituent parts, 
because philosophy and Christian faith agree that the administra- 
tion of the State has from nature as its purpose, not the benefit of 
those to whom it has been entrusted, but the benefit of those who 
have been entrusted to it. And since the power of governing comes 
from God and is a participation, as it were, in His supreme sover- 
eignty, it ought to be administered according to the example of 
the Divine power, which looks with paternal care to the welfare 
of individual creatures as well as to that of all creation. If, there- 
fore, any injury has been done to or threatens either the common 
good or the interest of individual groups, which injury cannot in 
any other way be repaired or prevented, it is necessary for public 
authority to intervene. 

149. It is vitally important to public as well as to private wel- 
fare that there be peace and good order; likewise, that the whole 
regime of family life be directed according to the ordinances of 
God and the principles of nature, that religion be observed and 
cultivated., that sound morals flourish in private and public life, 
that justice be kept sacred and that no one be wronged with im- 
punity by another, and that strong citizens grow up, capable of 
supporting, and, if necessary, of protecting the State. Wherefore, 
if at any time disorder should threaten because of strikes or con- 
certed stoppages of work, if the natural bonds of family life should 
be relaxed among the poor, if religion among the workers should 
be outraged by failure to provide sufficient opportunity for per- 
forming religious duties, if in factories danger should assail the 
integrity of morals through the mixing of the sexes or other per- 
nicious incitements to sin, or if the employer class should oppress 
the working class with unjust burdens or should degrade them 
with conditions inimical to human personality or to human dignity, 
if health should be injured by immoderate work and such as is not 


RERUMNOVARUM . [ 150-152 j 

suited to sex or age in all these cases, the power and authority oi 
the law, but of course within certain limits, manifestly ought to be 
employed. And these limits are determined by the same reason 
which demands the aid of the law, that is, the law ought not under- 
take more, nor ought it go farther, than the remedy of evils or the 
removal of danger requires. 

150. Rights indeed, by whomsoever possessed, must be reli- 
giously protected; and public authority, in warding off injuries and 
punishing wrongs, ought to see to it that individuals may have 
and hold what belongs to them. In protecting the rights of private 
individuals, however, special consideration must be given to the 
weak and the poor. For the nation, as it were, of the rich, is guarded 
by its own defenses and is in less need of governmental protec- 
tion, whereas the suffering multitude, without the means to protect 
itself, relies especially on the protection of the State. Wherefore, 
since wage workers are numbered among the great mass of the 
needy, the State must include them under its special care and fore- 

151. But it will be well to touch here expressly on certain 
matters of special importance. The capital point is this, that private 
property ought to be safeguarded by the sovereign power of the 
State and through the bulwark of its laws. And especially, in view 
of such a great flaming up of passion at the present time, the masses 
ought to be kept within the bounds of their moral obligations. For, 
while justice does not oppose our striving for better things, on the 
other hand, it does forbid anyone to take from another what is his 
and, in the name of a certain absurd equality, to seize forcibly the 
property of others; nor does the interest of the common good itself 
permit this. Certainly, the great majority of working people prefer 
to secure better conditions by honest toil, without doing wrong to 
anyone. Nevertheless, not a few individuals are found who, imbued 
with evil ideas and eager for revolution, use every means to stir up 
disorder and incite to violence. The authority of the State, therefore, 
should intervene and, by putting restraint upon such disturbers, 
protect the morals of workers from their corrupting arts and lawful 
owners from the danger of spoliation. 

152. Labor which is too long and too hard and the belief that 
pay is inadequate not infrequently give workers cause to strike and 
become voluntarily idle. This evil, which is frequent and serious, 



ought to be remedied by public authority, because such interruption 
of work inflicts damage not only upon employers and upon the 
workers themselves, but also injures trade and commerce and the 
general interests of the State, and, since it is usually not far re- 
moved from violence and rioting, it very frequently jeopardizes 
public peace. In this matter it is more effective and salutary that 
the authority of the law anticipate and completely prevent the evil 
from breaking out by removing early the causes from which it 
would seem that conflict between employers and workers is bound 
to arise. 

153. And in like manner, in the case of the worker, there are 
many things which the power of the State should protect; and, first 
of all, the goods of his soul. For however good and desirable mortal 
life be, yet it is not the ultimate goal for which we are born, but a 
road only and a means for perfecting, through knowledge of truth 
and love of good, the life of the soul. The soul bears the express 
image and likeness of God, and there resides in it that sovereignty 
through the medium of which man has been bidden to rule all 
created nature below him and to make all lands and all seas serve 
his interests. Fill the earth and subdue it f and rule over the fishes 
of the sea and the fowls of the air and all living creatures that move 
Upon the earth In this respect all men are equal, and there is no 
difference between rich and poor, between masters and servants, 
between rulers and subjects: For there is the same Lord of all 
No one may with impunity outrage the dignity of man, which God 
Himself treats with great reverence, nor impede his course to that 
level of perfection which accords with eternal life in heaven. Nay, 
more, in this connection a man cannot even by his own free choice 
allow himself to be treated in a way inconsistent with his nature, 
and voluntarily put his soul in slavery; for there is no question 
here of rights belonging to man, but of duties owed to God, which 
are to be religiously observed ....... 

154. Now as concerns the protection of corporeal and physical 
goods, the oppressed workers, above all, ought to be liberated from 
the savagery of greedy men, who inordinately use human beings as 
things for gain. Assuredly, neither justice nor humanity can 
countenance the exaction of so much work that the spirit is dulled 

75 Genesis, I, 28. 

76 Romans, X, 1 2. 



from excessive toil and that along with it the body sinks crushed 
from exhaustion. The working energy of a man, like his entire 
nature, is circumscribed by definite limits beyond which it cannot 
go. It is developed indeed by exercise and use, but only on condi- 
tion that a man cease from work at regular intervals and rest. With 
respect to daily work, therefore, care ought to be taken not to extend 
it beyond the hours that human strength warrants. The length of 
rest intervals ought to be decided on the basis of the varying nature 
of the work, of the circumstances of time and place, and of the 
physical condition of the workers themselves. Since the labor of 
those who quarry stone from the earth, or who mine iron, copper, 
and other underground materials, is much more severe and harmful 
to health, the working period for such men ought to be correspond- 
ingly shortened. The seasons of the year also must be taken into 
account; for often a given kind of work is easy to endure in one 
season but cannot be endured at all in another, or not without the 
greatest difficulty. 

155. Finally, it is not right to demand of a woman or a child 
what a strong adult man is capable of doing or would be willing 
to do. Nay, as regards children, special care ought to be taken that 
the factory does not get hold of them before age has sufficiently 
matured their physical, intellectual and moral powers. For budding 
strength in childhood, like greening verdure in spring, is crushed 
by premature harsh treatment; and under such circumstances all 
education of the child must needs be foregone. Certain occupa- 
tions likewise are less fitted for women, who are intended by nature 
for the work of the home work indeed which especially protects 
modesty in women and accords by nature with the education of 
children and the well-being of the family. Let it be the rule every- 
where that workers be given as much leisure as will compensate 
for the energy consumed by toil, for rest from work is necessary 
to restore strength consumed by use. In every obligation which is 
mutually contracted between employers and workers, this condition, 
either written or tacit, is always present: that both kinds of rest be 
provided for; nor would it be equitable to make an agreement 
otherwise, because no, one has the right to demand of, or to make 
an agreement with anyone to neglect those duties which bind a 
man to God or to himself. 

156. We shall now touch upon a matter of very great impor- 

7 1 

[ I 57' I 5 8 ] LEO XIU 

tance, and one which must be correctly understood in order to 
avoid falling into error on one side or the other. We are told that 
free consent fixes the amount of a wage; that, therefore, the em- 
ployer, after paying the wage agreed to, would seem to have dis- 
charged his obligation and not to owe anything more; that only 
then would injustice be done if either the employer should refuse 
to pay the whole amount of the wage, or the worker should refuse 
to perform all the work to which he had committed himself; and 
that in these cases, but in no others, is it proper for the public 
authority to intervene to safeguard the rights of each party. 

157. An impartial judge would not assent readily or without 
reservation to this reasoning, because it is not complete in all re- 
spects: one factor to be considered, and one of the greatest 
importance, is missing. To work is to expend one's energy for 
the purpose of securing the things necessary for the various "needs 
of life and especially for its preservation. In the sweat of thy face 
shah thou eat bread. Accordingly, in man labor has two marks, as 
it were, implanted by nature so that it is truly personal, because 
work energy inheres in the person and belongs completely to him 
by whom it is expended and for whose use it is destined by nature; 
and, secondly, that it is necessary, because man has need of the fruit 
of his labors to preserve his life, and nature itself, which must be 
most strictly obeyed, commands him to preserve it. If labor should 
be considered only under the aspect that it is personal, there is no 
doubt that it would be entirely in the worker's power to set the 
amount of the agreed wage at too low a figure. For inasmuch as 
he performs work by his own free will, he can also by his own 
free will be satisfied with either a paltry wage for his work or 
even with none at all. But this matter must be judged far differ- 
ently, if with the factor of personality we combine the factor of 
necessity, from which indeed the former is separable in thought 
but not in reality. In fact, to preserve one's life is a duty common 
to all individuals, and to neglect this duty is a crime. Hence, arises 
necessarily the right of securing things to sustain life, and only a 
wage earned by his labor gives a poor man the means to acquire 
these things. 

158. Let it be granted, then, that worker and employer may 
enter freely into agreements and, in particular, concerning the 

n Genesis, III, i. 


amount of the wage; yet there is always underlying such agree- 
ments an element of natural justice, and one greater and more 
ancient than the free consent of contracting parties; namely, that 
the wage shall not be less than enough to support a worker who 
is thrifty and upright. If, compelled by necessity or moved by fear 
of a worse evil, a worker accepts a harder condition, which although 
against his will he must accept because the employer or contractor 
imposes it, he certainly submits to force, against which justice cries 
out in protest. 

159. But in these and similar questions, such as the number of 
hours of work in each kind of occupation and the health safeguards 
to be provided, particularly in factories, it will be better, in order 
to avoid unwarranted governmental intervention, especially since 
circumstances of business, seasons and places are so varied, that 
decision be reserved to the organization of which We are about to 
speak below, or else to pursue another course whereby the interests 
of the workers may be adequately safeguarded the State, if the 
occasion demands, to furnish help and protection. 

160. If a worker receives a wage sufficiently large to enable 
him to provide comfortably for himself, his wife and his children, 
he will, if prudent, gladly strive to practice thrift; and the result 
will be, as nature itself seems to counsel, that after expenditures 
are deducted there will remain something over and above through 
which he can come into the possession of a little wealth. We have 
seen, in fact, that the whole question under consideration cannot 
be settled effectually unless it is assumed and established as a prin- 
ciple, that the right of private property must be regarded as sacred. 
Wherefore, the law ought to favor this right and, so far as it can, 
see that the largest possible number among the masses of the popu- 
lation prefer to own property. 

161. If this is done, excellent benefits will follow, foremost 
among which will surely be a more equitable division of goods. 
For the violence of public disorder has divided cities into two 
classes of citizens, with an immense gulf lying between them. On 
the one side is a faction exceedingly powerful because exceedingly 
rich. Since it alone has under its control every kind of work and 
business, it diverts to its own advantage and interest all production 
sources of wealth and exerts no little power in the administration 
itself of the State. On the other side are the needy and helpless 


[162-163] LEO XIII 

masses with minds inflamed and always ready for disorder. But if 
the productive activity of the multitude can be stimulated by the 
hope of acquiring some property in land, it will gradually come to 
pass that, with the difference between extreme wealth and extreme 
penury removed, one class will become neighbor to the other. 
Moreover, there will surely be a greater abundance of the things 
which the earth produces. For when men know they are working 
on what belongs to them, they work with far greater eagerness and 
diligence. Nay, in a word, they learn to love the land cultivated 
by their own hands, whence they look not only for food but for 
some measure of abundance for themselves and their dependents. 
All can see how much this willing eagerness contributes to an 
abundance of produce and the wealth of a nation. Hence, in the 
third place, will flow the benefit that men can easily be kept from 
leaving the country in which they have been born and bred; for 
they would not exchange their native country for a foreign land 
if their native country furnished them sufficient means of living. 
But these advantages can be attained only if private' wealth is not 
drained away by crushing taxes of every kind. For since the right 
of possessing goods privately has been conferred not by man's law, 
but by nature, public authority cannot abolish it, but can only 
control its exercise and bring it into conformity with the common- 
weal. Public authority, therefore, w^ould act unjustly and inhumanly, 
if in the name of taxes it should appropriate from the property of 
private individuals more than is equitable. 

162. Finally, employers and workers themselves can accomplish 
much in this matter, manifestly through those institutions by the 
help of which the poor are opportunely assisted and the two classes 
of society are brought closer to each other. Under this category 
come associations for giving mutual aid; various agencies estab- 
lished by the foresight of private persons to care for the worker 
and likewise for his dependent wife and children in the event that 
an accident, sickness, or death befalls him; and foundations to care 
for boys and girls, for adolescents, and for the aged. 

163. But associations of workers occupy first place, and they 
include within their circle nearly all the rest. The beneficent achieve- 
ments of the guilds of artisans among our ancestors have long been 
well known. Truly, they yielded noteworthy advantages not only 
to artisans, but, as many monuments bear witness, brought glory 


RERUM NO V ARUM [164-165] 

and progress to the arts themselves. In our present age of greater 
culture, with its new customs and ways of living, and with the 
increased number of things required by daily life, it is most clearly 
necessary that workers' associations be adapted to meet the present 
need. It is gratifying that societies of this kind, composed either of 
workers alone or of workers and employers together, are being 
formed everywhere, and it is truly to be desired that they grow in 
number and in active vigor. Although We have spoken of them 
more than once, it seems well to show in this place that they are 
highly opportune and are formed by their own right, and, likewise, 
to show how they should be organized and what they should do. 

164. Inadequacy of his own strength, learned from experience, 
impels and urges a man to enlist the help of others. Such is the 
teaching of Holy Scripture: It is better, there j ore, that two should 
be together, than one: for they have the advantage of their society. 
If one fall he shall be supported by the other; woe to him that is 
alone, for when he falleth he hath none to lift him up. 7B And this 
also: A brother that is helped by his brother, is lifye a strong city 
Just as man is drawn by this natural propensity into civil union 
and association, so also he seeks with his fellow citizens to form 
other societies, admittedly small and not perfect, but societies none- 

165. Between these latter and the large society of the State, 
there is, because of their different immediate purposes, a very great 
distinction. The end of civil society concerns absolutely all mem- 
bers of this society, since the end of civil society is centered in the 
common good, in which latter, one and all in due proportion have 
a right to participate. Wherefore, this society is called public, be- 
cause through it "men share with one another in establishing a 
commonwealth." 80 On the other hand, societies which are formed, 
so to speak, within its bosom are considered private and are such 
because their immediate object is private advantage, appertaining 
to those alone who are thus associated together. "Now a private 
society is one which is formed to carry out some private business, 
as when two or three enter into association for the purpose of 
engaging together in trade." 81 

Ecclesiastes, IV, 9-10. 

79 Proverbs, XVIII, 19. 

80 St. Thoma^, Contra Impugnantes Dei Cultum et Religionem, C, II, 8. 

[166-167] LEO XIII 

1 66. Although private societies exist within the State and are, 
as it were, so many parts o it, still it is not within the authority 
of the State universally and per se to forbid them to exist as such. 
For man is permitted by a right of nature to form private societies; 
the State, on the other hand, has been instituted to protect and not 
to destroy natural right, and if it should forbid its citizens to enter 
into associations, it would clearly do something contradictory to 
itself because both the State itself and private associations are 
begotten of one and the same principle: namely, that men are by 
nature inclined to associate. Occasionally there are times when it 
is proper for the laws to oppose associations of this kind, that is, if 
they professedly seek after any objective which is clearly at variance 
with good morals, with justice, or with the welfare of the State. 
Indeed, in these cases the public power shall justly prevent such 
associations from forming and shall also justly dissolve those already 
formed. Nevertheless, it must use the greatest precaution lest it 
appear to infringe on the rights of its citizens, and lest, under the 
pretext of public benefit, it enact any measure that sound reason 
would not support. For laws are to be obeyed only insofar as they 
conform with right reason and thus with the eternal law of God. 82 

167. Here come to Our mind for consideration the various con- 
fraternities, societies, and religious Orders which the authority of 
the Church and the piety of Christians have brought into being; 
and history down to our own times speaks of the wonderful benefit 
they have been to the human race. Since societies of this character, 
even if judged in the light of reason alone, have been formed for 
an honest purpose, it is clear that they have been formed in accord- 
ance with natural right. But in whatever respect they concerri 
religion, they are properly subject to the Church alone. Therefore, 
those in charge of the State cannot in justice arrogate to themselves 
any right over them or assume their administration to themselves. 
Rather it is the office of the State to respect, to conserve, and, as 
occasion may require, to protect them from injustice. Yet we have 
seen something entirely different being done, especially at the 
present time. In many places, the State has violated associations of 

82 "Human law has the essential nature of law only insofar as it is in accordance with 
right reason, and thus manifestly it derives from the eternal law. But insofar as it 
deviates from reason, it is called unjust law, and so it does not have the essential 
nature of law, but rather a kind of violence." St. Thomas, Summa Theologica, 
I a 2ae, Q. xciii, art. 3, ad 2. 

7 6 

RERUM NOVARUM [168-169] 

this kind, and in fact with manifold injury, since it has put them 
in the bonds o the civil law, has divested them of their lawful 
right to be considered legal persons, and has robbed them of their 
property. In this property the Church possessed her rights and 
individual association members possessed theirs, as did also the 
persons who donated this property for a designated purpose as well 
as those for whose benefit and relief it had been donated. Conse- 
quently, We cannot refrain from deploring such vicious and unjust 
acts of robbery, and so much the more because We see the road 
being closed to Catholic associations, which are law-abiding and in 
every respect useful, at the very time when it is being decreed that 
most assuredly men are permitted by law to form associations, and 
at the very time when this freedom is being lavishly granted in 
actual fact to men urging a course of conduct pernicious at once 
to religion and to the State. 

1 68. Certainly, the number of associations of almost every pos- 
sible kind, especially of associations of workers, is now far greater 
than ever before. This is not the place to inquire whence many 
of them originate, what object they have, or how they proceed. 
But the opinion is, and it is one confirmed by a good deal of evi- 
dence, that they are largely under the control of secret leaders and 
that these same leaders apply principles which are in harmony 
with neither Christianity nor the welfare of States, and that, after 
having possession of all available work, they contrive that those 
who refuse to join with them will be forced by want to pay the 
penalty. Under these circumstances, workers who are Christians 
must choose one of two things: either to join associations in which 
it is greatly to be feared that there is danger to religion, or to form 
their own associations and unite their forces in such a way that 
they may be able manfully to free themselves from such unjust 
and intolerable oppression. Can they who refuse to place man's 
highest good in imminent jeopardy hesitate to affirm that the second 
course is by all means to be followed? 

169. Many of our Faith are indeed to be highly commended, 
who, having rightly perceived what the times require of them, are 
experimenting and striving to discover how by honest means they 
can raise the non-owning working class to higher living levels. 
They have championed their cause and are endeavoring to increase 
the prosperity of both families and individuals, and at the same 


[170] LEO XIII 

time to regulate justly the mutual obligations which rest upon 
workers and employers and to foster and strengthen in both con- 
sciousness of duty and observance of the precepts of the Gospel 
precepts, in truth, which hold man back from excess and prevent 
him from over-stepping the bounds of moderation and, in the midst 
of the widest divergences among persons and things, maintain 
harmony in the State. For this reason, we see eminent men meet- 
ing together frequently to exchange ideas, to combine their forces, 
and to deliberate on the most expedient programs of action. Others 
are endeavoring to unite the various kinds of workers in suitable 
associations, are assisting them with advice and money, and making 
plans to prevent a lack of honest and profitable work. The bishops 
are giving encouragement and bestowing support; and under their 
authority and auspices many from the ranks of the clergy, both 
regular and diocesan, are showing zealous care for all that pertains 
to the spiritual improvement of the members of these associations. 
Finally, there are not wanting Catholics of great wealth, yet volun- 
tary sharers, as it were, in the lot of the wage workers, who by 
their own generous contributions are striving to found and extend 
associations through which the worker is readily enabled to obtain 
from his toil not only immediate benefits, but also assurance of 
honorable retirement in the future. How much good such mani- 
fold and enthusiastic activity has contributed to the benefit of all 
is too well-known to make discussion necessary. From all this, We 
have taken auguries of good hope for the future, provided that 
societies of this kind continually grow and that they are founded 
with wise organization. Let the State protect these lawfully associ- 
ated bodies of citizens; let it not, however, interfere with their 
private concerns and order of life; for vital activity is set in motion 
by an inner principle, and it is very easily destroyed, as We know, 
by intrusion from without. 

170. Unquestionably, wise direction and organization are essen- 
tial to these associations in order that in their activities there be 
unity of purpose and concord of wills. Furthermore, if citizens 
have free right to associate, as in fact they do, they also must have 
the right freely to adopt the organization and the rules which they 
judge most appropriate to achieve their purpose. We do not feel 
that the precise character in all details which the aforementioned 
direction and organization of associations ought to have can be 


determined by fast and fixed rules, since this is a matter to be 
decided gather in the light of the temperament of each people, 
of experiment and practice, of the nature and character of the work, 
of the extent of trade and commerce, and of other circumstances 
of a material and temporal kind, all of which must be carefully 
considered. In summary, let this be laid down as a general and 
constant law: workers' associations ought to be so constituted 
and so governed as to furnish the most suitable and most convenient 
means to attain the object proposed, which consists in this, that the 
individual members of the association secure, so far as is possible, 
an increase in the goods of body, of soul, and of property. It is 
clear, however, that moral and religious perfection ought to be 
regarded as their principal goal, and that their social organization 
as such ought above all to be directed completely by this goal. For 
otherwise they would degenerate in nature and would be little better 
than those associations in which no account is ordinarily taken of 
religion. Besides, what would it profit a worker to secure through 
an association an abundance of goods, if his soul through lack of 
its proper food should run the risk of perishing? What doth it 
profit a man, if he gain the whole world, but suffer the loss of his 

own soul? 8B 

171. When the regulations of associations are founded upon 
religion, the way is easy toward establishing the mutual relations 
of the members so that peaceful living together and prosperity will 
result. Offices in the associations are to be distributed properly in 
accordance with the common interest, and in such a way, more- 
over, that wide difference in these offices may not create discord. 
It is of special importance that obligations be apportioned wisely 
and be clearly defined, to the end that no one is done an injustice. 
Let the funds be disbursed equitably in such way that the amount 
of benefit to be paid out to members is fixed beforehand in accord- 
ance with individual needs, and let the rights and duties of em- 
ployers be properly adjusted to the rights and duties of workers. 
If any one in these two groups feels that he has been injured in 
any way, nothing is more to be desired than that prudent and 
upright men of the same body be available, and that the association 
regulations themselves prescribe that the dispute be settled accord- 
ing to the decision of these men. It must also be specially provided 

83 Matthew, XVI, 26. 


[172-174] LEO XIII 

that the worker at no time be without sufficient work, and that the 
monies paid into the treasury of the association furnish the means 
of assisting individual members in need, not only during sudden 
and unforeseen changes in industry, but also whenever anyone is 
stricken by sickness, by old age, or by misfortune. 

172. Through these regulations, provided they are readily 
accepted, the interests and welfare of the poor will be adequately 
cared for. Associations of Catholics, moreover, will undoubtedly be 
of great importance in promoting prosperity in the State. Through 
past events we can, without temerity, foresee the future. Age presses 
hard upon age, but there are wondrous similarities in history, gov- 
erned as it is by the Providence of God, Who guides and directs 
the continuity and the chain of events in accordance with that pur- 
pose which He set before Himself in creating the human race. In 
the early ages, when the Church was in her youth, We know that 
the reproach was hurled at the Christians that the great majority 
of them lived by precarious alms or by toil. Yet, although destitute 
of wealth and power, they succeeded in winning the good will of 
the rich and the protection of the mighty. All could see that they 
were energetic, industrious, peace-loving, and exemplarily devoted 
to the practice of justice and especially of charity. In the presence 
of life and conduct such as this, all prejudice vanished, the taunting 
voices of the malevolent were silenced, and the falsehoods of in- 
veterate superstition yielded little by little to Christian truth. 

173. The condition of workers is a subject of bitter controversy 
at the present time; and whether this controversy is resolved in 
accordance with reason or otherwise, it is, in either event, of utmost 
importance to the State. Now Christian workers will readily resolve 
it in accordance with reason, if, united in associations and under 
wise leaders, they enter upon the path which their fathers and their 
ancestors followed to their own best welfare as well as to that of 
the State. For, no matter how strong the power of prejudice and 
passion in man, yet, unless perversity of will has deadened the sense 
of the right and just, the good-will of citizens is certain to be more 
freely inclined toward those whom they learn to know as industrious 
and temperate, and who clearly place justice before profit and con- 
scientious observance of duty before all else. . . . 

174. These, Venerable Brethren, are the persons, and this is the 
procedure to be employed in dealing with this most difficult ques- 



tion. Everyone according to his position ought to gird himself for 
the task, and indeed as speedily as possible, lest, by delaying the 
remedy, the evil, which is already of vast dimensions, become in- 
curable. Let those in charge of States make use of the provision 
afforded by laws and institutions; let the rich and employers be 
mindful of their duties; let the workers, whose cause is at stake, 
press their claims with reason. And since religion alone, as We 
said in the beginning, can remove the evil, root and branch, let all 
reflect upon this: first and foremost, Christian morals must be re- 
established, without which even the weapons of prudence, which 
are considered especially effective, will be of no avail to secure 

175. So far as the Church is concerned, at no time and in no 
manner will she permit her efforts to be wanting, and she will 
contribute all the more help in proportion as she has more freedom 
of action. Let this be understood in particular by those whose duty 
it is to promote the public welfare. Let the members of the Sacred 
Ministry exert all their strength of mind and all their diligence, 
and, Venerable Brethren, under the guidance of your authority and 
example, let them not cease to impress upon men of all ranks the 
principles of Christian living as found in the Gospel; by all means 
in their power let them strive for the well-being of peoples; and 
especially let them aim both to preserve in themselves and to arouse 
in others, in the highest equally as well as in the lowest, the mistress 
and queen of the virtues, Charity 

ENCYCLICAL Au Milieu des Sollicitudes TO THE CHURCH IN 


The Pope analyzes the relations between the Church 
and the State in France. There can be no internal peace 
in the State unless religion be protected. 

February 16, 1892 

176 Now We deem it opportune, nay, even necessary, 

once again to raise Our voice entreating still more earnestly, We 
shall not say Catholics only, but all upright and intelligent French- 

84 Translation from The Great Encyclical Letters of Pope Leo XIII, pp. 250-259. 
Original French, A.S.S. v. 24, pp. 519-526 (1892). 


[177-178] LEO xnl 

men, utterly to disregard all germs o political strife in order to 
devote their efforts solely to the pacification of their country. All 
understand the value of this pacification; all continue to desire it 
more and more. And We who crave it more than any one, since 
We represent on earth the God of peace/ 5 urge by these present 
Letters all righteous souls, all generous hearts, to assist Us in making 
it stable and fruitful. 

177. First of all, let us take as a starting-point a well-known 
truth admitted by all men of good sense and loudly proclaimed by 
the history of all peoples; namely, that religion, and religion only, 
can create the social bond; that it alone maintains the peace of a na- 
tion on a solid foundation. When different families, without giving 
up the rights and duties of domestic society, unite under the in- 
spiration of nature, in order to constitute themselves members of 
another larger family circle called civil society, their object is not 
only to find therein the means of providing for their material 
welfare, but, above all, to draw thence the boon of moral improve- 
ment. Otherwise society would rise but little above the level of 
an aggregation of beings devoid of reason, and whose whole life 
would consist in the satisfaction of sensual instincts. Moreover, 
without this moral improvement it would be difficult to demon- 
strate that civil society was an advantage rather than a detriment 
to man, as man. 

178. Now, morality, in man, by the mere fact that it should 
establish harmony among so many dissimilar rights and duties, 
since it enters as an element into every human act, necessarily sup- 
poses God, and with God, religion, that sacred bond whose privilege 
is to unite, anteriorly to all other bonds, man to God. Indeed, the 
idea of morality signifies, above all, an order of dependence in 
regard to truth which is the light of the mind; in regard to good 
which is the object of the will; and without truth and good there 
is no morality worthy of the name. And what is the principal and 
essential Truth, that from which all truth is derived? It is God. 
What, therefore, is the supreme Good from which all other good 
proceeds? God. Finally, who is the Creator and Guardian of our 
reason, our will, our whole being, as well as the end of our life? 
God; always God. Since, therefore, religion is the interior and 
exterior expression of the dependence which, in justice, we owe 

85 Cf. I Corinthians, XIV^ 33. 



to God, there follows a grave obligation. All citizens are bound 
to unite in maintaining in the nation true religious sentiment, and 
to defend it in case of need, if ever, despite the protestations of 
nature and of history, an atheistical school should set about banish- 
ing God from society, thereby surely annihilating the moral sense 
even in the depths of the human conscience. Among men who have 
not lost all notion of integrity there can exist no difference of 
opinion on this point 

179. Various political governments have succeeded one another 
in France during the last century, each having its own distinctive 
form: the Empire, the Monarchy, and the Republic. By giving 
oneself up to abstractions, one could at length conclude which is 
the best of these forms, considered in themselves; and in all truth 
it may be affirmed that each of them is good, provided it lead 
straight to its end that is to say, to the common good for which 
social authority is constituted; and finally, it may be added that, 
from a relative point of view, such and such a form of government 
may be preferable because of being better adapted to the character 
and customs of such or such a nation. In this order of speculative 
ideas, Catholics, like all other citizens, are free to prefer one form 
of government to another precisely because no one of these social 
forms is, in itself, opposed to the principles of sound reason nor to 
the maxims of Christian doctrine 

1 80. However, here it must be carefully observed that what- 
ever be the form of civil power in a nation, it cannot be considered 
so definitive as to have the right to remain immutable, even though 
such were the intention of those who, in the beginning, determined 
it. ... But, in regard to purely human societies, it is an oft-repeated 
historical fact that time, that great transformer of all things here 
below, operates great changes in their political institutions. On 
some occasions it limits itself to modifying something in the form 
of the established government; or, again, it will go so far as to 
substitute other forms for the primitive ones forms totally dif- 
ferent, even as regards the mode of transmitting sovereign power. 

181. And how are these political changes of which We speak 
produced? They sometimes follow in the wake of violent crises, 
too often of a bloody character, in the midst of which pre-existing 
governments totally disappear; then anarchy holds sway, and soon 
public order is shaken to its very foundations and finally over- 


[182-184] LEO XIII 

thrown. From that time onward a social need obtrudes itself upon 
the nation; it must provide for itself without delay. Is it not its 
privilege or, better still, its duty to defend itself against a state 
of affairs troubling it so deeply, and to re-establish public peace in 
the tranquillity of order? Now, this social need justifies the creation 
and the existence of new governments, whatever form they take; 
since, in the hypothesis wherein we reason, these new governments 
are a requisite to public order, all public order being impossible 
without a government. Thence it follows that, in similar junctures, 
all the novelty is limited to the political form of civil power, or to 
its mode of transmission; it in no wise affects the power considered 
in itself. This continues to be immutable and worthy of respect, 
as, considered in its nature, it is constituted to provide for the 
common good, the supreme end which gives human society its 
origin. To put it otherwise, in all hypotheses, civil power, con- 
sidered as such, is from God, always from God: For there is no 
power but from God. 8Q 

182. Consequently, when new governments representing this 
immutable power are constituted, their acceptance is not only per- 
missible but even obligatory, being imposed by the need of the 
social good which has made and which upholds them. This is all 
the more imperative because an insurrection stirs up hatred among 
citizens, provokes civil war, and may throw a nation into chaos 
and anarchy, and this great duty of respect and dependence will 
endure as long as the exigencies of the common good shall demand 
it, since this good is, after God, the first and last law in society. 

183. Thus the wisdom of the Church explains itself in the 
maintenance of her relations with the numerous governments which 
have succeeded one another in France in less than a century, each 
change causing violent shocks. Such a line of conduct would be 
the surest and most salutary for alL Frenchmen in their civil rela- 
tions with the Republic, which is the actual government of their 
nation. Far be it from them to encourage the political dissensions 
which divide them; all their efforts should be combined to pre- 
serve and elevate the moral greatness of their native land. 

184. But a difficulty presents itself. "This Republic," it is said, 
"is animated by such anti-Christian sentiments that honest men, 
Catholics particularly, could not conscientiously accept it." This, 

86 Romans, XIII, i. 


more than anything else, has given rise to dissensions, and, in fact, 
aggravated them. . . . These regrettable differences would have 
been avoided if the very considerable distinction between constituted 
power and legislation had been carefully kept in view. In so much 
does legislation differ from political power and its form, that, under 
a system of government most excellent in form, legislation could 
be detestable; while quite the opposite, under a regime most im- 
perfect in form, might be found excellent legislation. It were an 
easy task to prove this truth, history in hand, but what would be 
the use? All are convinced of it. And who, better than the Church, 
is in position to know it she who has striven to maintain habitual 
relations with all political governments? Assuredly she, better than 
any other power, could tell the consolation or sorrow occasioned 
her by the laws of the various governments by which nations have 
been ruled from the Roman Empire down to the present. 

185. If the distinction just established has its major importance, 
it is likewise manifestly reasonable: legislation is the work of men 
invested with power, and who, in fact, govern the nation; there- 
fore, it follows that, practically, the quality of the laws depends 
more upon the quality of these men than upon the form of power. 
The laws will be good or bad accordingly as the minds of the legis- 
lators are imbued with good or bad principles, and as they allow 
themselves to be guided by political prudence or by passion 


In human society peace is the daughter of justice. 

December 23, 1893 

1 86. Without doubt, the benefits for which We render thanks 
to the loving Providence of God are many and remarkable, and 
We are happy, Lord Cardinal, that the Sacred College also renders 
thanks and praise to the Lord with Us, as Our praise and Our 
thanks alone would be insufficient return for such an abundance 
of mercy. It is the Hand of God that keeps Us safe in Our advanced 
years, which gives Us the great consolation of seeing alive in the 
people the devotion to the Apostolic See, and guides Us without 
fear through the cares of a ministry that even in less difficult times 

87 Original Italian, Acta Leonis Papae XIII, v. 5, pp. 227-228. 


[187-188] LEO XIII 

and circumstances might have proved exceedingly heavy for Our 

187. In the meantime, determined as We are to accomplish to 
the limit of Our strength Our heavy duties, We would ask for 
nothing more eagerly than that which you, Lord Cardinal, have 
wished Us just now: to be permitted to be, as many of Our Predeces- 
sors have been, real ministers and bearers of peace to Europe and 
to the world. ... It is indeed true, that by the nature of Our 
office, We are partisans and abettors of peace; because peace, both 
in the individual and in human society, is the daughter of justice, 
and justice derives life from faith: Justus ex fide vivit?* Indeed, 
the highest Christian priesthood being the incorruptible guardian 
of faith and the supreme vindicator of all justice, is by consequence 
an apostolate of unification and peace. Give free reins to this 
apostolate which derives its mission from above; receive without 
suspicion the message that it brings; let it penetrate the conscience 
of the citizen, of the family, and of the government of the States, 
and you will behold the tranquillity of order, that supreme aspira- 
tion and supreme need of the people. . . . The moral reason of the 
present troublous times is to be found particularly in the weaken- 
ing of religious beliefs. When the human mind loses sight of 
heaven, and keeps the eye pinned to earth, then uniting charity 
disappears, and dividing selfishness prevails. Hence the dark dis- 
cords hidden under lying appearances, rivalries, and mad ambitions; 
the growing unrest in every social class, the hungry desire for revo- 
lution which springs up everywhere, bringing about disorder and 
strife. Under such conditions, peoples and nations instinctively 
feel a need for peace and search for it ardently, but true peace is 
nowhere to be found, because for too long a time they have for- 
gotten Him Who alone can give it. 

1 88. Should we not, then, hope for a religious revival, fore- 
runner of happier days ? Indeed we should, and strongly, because 
Jesus Christ never forsakes mankind whom He has redeemed. As 
the Spirit of God, on the first day of creation, moved over the new 
waters and made them fruitful, so at the moment designed by His 
mercy will that Spirit descend on humankind and will revive, by 
its virtue and the work of the Church, the spent or scarcely living 
germ of Divine Faith. 

^Romans, I, 17. 


CARITATIS [189-190] 

189. With this sweet hope in Our heart, We welcome the good 
wishes which the Sacrdd College has expressed to Us through its 
worthy Dean. And as a just exchange, in the august and beautiful 
solemnities o these days, We shall pray the Divine Child to bestow 
abundantly upon the Sacred College His heavenly graces. Mean- 
while, as a token of fatherly love, We bestow on it, on the Bishops, 
on the various Prelates, and on all those present Our Apostolic 


The Pope states the doctrine of the Church on the 
duties of citizens and rulers of States. 

March 19, 1894 

I 9 On the other hand, the Church does not teach 

and prescribe anything that is injurious or contrary to the majesty 
of princes or to the happiness or progress of peoples; nay, rather, 
from the treasury of Christian wisdom she is constantly drawing 
what may be of the greatest possible advantage to them. Among 
the truths which she teaches, it is proper to mention the following: 
those who possess power bear among men the image of the Divine 
Power of Providence; their command must be just and imitate 
that of God, be tempered by a paternal kindness, and tend solely 
to the welfare of the State; they will one day have to render an 
account to God, their Judge, an account so much the more serious 
the higher their dignity. As for those who are under the depend- 
ence of authority, they are bound to observe respect and fidelity 
towards princes as exercising towards God His authority through 
the intermediation of men; they must obey them, not only from 
fear of chastisement, but also from conscience, 90 pray for them and 
give thanks in their behalf, 91 religiously respect the order of the 
State, abstain from the plots of men of disorder and from adhesion 
to secret societies; they must commit no seditious act, but must 
assist with all their efforts in maintaining peace in justice 

89 Translation from Furey, Life of Leo X2II and History of His Pontificate, p. 244* 

Original Latin, AS.S. f v. .26, p. 525 (1894). 

90 Cf. Romans, XIII, 5, 

91 Cf. I Timothy, II, i. 

8 7 

[191-193] LEO XI11 




// governments and States are restored to the unity of 
the faith, peace and security will return to the world. 

June 20, 1894 

191 Were this twofold danger averted, and govern- 
ment and States restored to the unity of faith, it is wonderful what 
efficacious remedies for evils and abundant store of benefits would 
ensue. We will touch upon the principal ones. 

192. The first regards the dignity and office of the Church. 
She would receive that honor which is her due and she would go 
on her way, free from envy and strong in her liberty, as the minister 
of Gospel truth and grace to the notable welfare of States. For as 
she has been given by God as a teacher and guide to the human 
race, she can contribute assistance which is peculiarly adapted to 
direct even the most radical transformations of time to the common 
good, to solve the most complicated questions, and to promote 
uprightness and justice, which are the most solid foundations of 
the commonwealth. Moreover, there would be a marked increase 
of union among the nations, a thing most desirable to ward off the 
horrors of war. 

193. We behold the condition of Europe. For many years past 
peace has been rather an appearance than a reality. Possessed with 
mutual suspicions, almost all the nations are vying with one an- 
other in equipping themselves with military armaments. Inexperi- 
enced youths are removed from parental direction and control, to 
be thrown amid the dangers of the soldier's life; robust young men 
are taken from agriculture or ennobling studies or trade or the arts 
to be put under arms. Hence the treasures of States are exhausted 
by the enormous expenditure, the national resources are frittered 
away, and private fortunes impaired; and this, as it were, armed 
peace, which now prevails, cannot last much longer. Can this be 
the normal condition of human society? Yet we cannot escape 
from this situation, and obtain true peace, except by the aid of 

92 Translation from The Great Encyclical Letters of Pope Leo XIII, pp. 315-316. 
Original Latin, A.S.S., v. 26, p. 714 (1894). 


Jesus Christ. For to repress ambition and covetousness and envy- 
the chief instigators of war nothing is more fitted than the Chris- 
tian virtues and, in particular, the virtue of justice; for, by its exer- 
cise, both the law of nations and the faith of treaties may be main- 
tained inviolate, and the bonds of brotherhood continue unbroken, 
if men are but convinced that justice exdteth a nation?* As in its 
external relations, so in the internal life of the State itself, the 
Christian virtues will provide a guarantee of the commonweal much 
more sure and far stronger than any which law or armies can afford. 
For there is no one who does not see that the dangers to public 
security and order are daily on the increase, since seditious societies 
continue to conspire for the overthrow and ruin of States, as the 
frequency of their atrocious outrages testifies 

ENCYCLICAL Jucunda Semper Expectatione ON THE HOLY 


To safeguard the peace of Christian society, prayer is 
necessary and the Rosary is especially adapted for this 
fynd of prayer. 

September 8, 1894 

194 But the Rosary, if rightly considered, will be 

found to have in itself special virtues, whether for producing and 
continuing a state of recollection, or for touching the conscience 
for its healing, or for lifting up the soul. As all men know, it is 
composed of two parts, distinct but inseparable the meditation of 
the Mysteries and the recitation of the prayers. It is thus a kind 
of prayer that requires not only some raising of the soul to God, 
but also a particular and explicit attention, so that by reflection 
upon the things to be contemplated, impulses and resolutions may 
follow for the reformation and sanctification of life. 

195. Those same things are, in fact, the most important and 
the most admirable of Christianity, the things through which the 
world was renewed and filled with the fruits of truth, justice 
and peace. And it is remarkable how well adapted to every kind 
of mind, however unskilled, is the manner in which these things 

93 Proverbs, XIV, 34. 

04 Translation from The Tablet, v. 84, p. 498 (September 29, 1894). Original Latin, 
A.S.S., v. 27, pp. 181-182 (1894-95). 

[196-197] LEO XIII 

are proposed to us in the Rosary. They are proposed less as truths 
or doctrines to be speculated upon than as present facts to be seen 
and perceived. . . . 

196. ... At the present day and on this We have already 
touchedthere is a signal necessity of special help from heaven, 
particularly manifest in the many tribulations suffered by the 
Church as to her liberties and her rights, as also in the perils 
whereby the prosperity and peace of Christian society are funda- 
mentally threatened. So it is that it belongs to Our office to assert 
once again that We place the best of Our hopes in the holy Rosary, 
inasmuch as more than any other means it can impetrate from God 
the succor which We need 

The Pope as\s mercy for the Italian prisoners. 
May n, 1896 

197. ... It has pleased You on a former occasion spontaneously 
to salute the beginning of Our Pontificate, and ten years later, upon 
the occasion of Our sacerdotal jubilee, You offered Us a new testi- 
monial of Your courtesy. These proofs of good will filled Our 
heart with joy; they do honor to Your heart. So, it is to Your heart 
of a monarch and a Christian that We address Our words today 
in order to urge You to perform an act of sovereign generosity. 
Victory has left numerous prisoners in Your hands. They are 
vigorous young men and worthy of respect, who, in the flower of 
their manhood and at the dawn of the finest hopes, have been 
snatched from their families and their homeland. Their captivity 
neither augments the measure of Your power, nor the extent of 
Your prestige; but the longer it lasts the more poignant is the grief 
in the souls of thousands of mothers and innocent wives. For Our 
part, filled with the holy mission which Our Lord Jesus Christ 
has entrusted to Us and which extends to all Christian nations, 
We love them as sons. Therefore, deign to heed the request which 
We make with a father's heart, in the name of the Divine Trinity, 
in the name of the Blessed Virgin, in the name of all 'that You 
hold most dear in this world; be pleased to grant them their liberty 

95 Original French, L'Osservatore Romano (November 14, 1896). 



without delay. Most powerful Negus Negesti, do not refuse to 
show Yourself magnanimous before the eyes of the nations. Inscribe 
this glorious page in the annals of Your reign! After all, what are 
the merciless rights of war alongside of the rights and duties of 
human fraternity ? God will give You a very rich reward, for He 
is the Father of mercy! Thousands of voices will be raised in chorus 
to bless You, and Ours will be the first to be heard. . . . 


The Pope as the Head of the Church has a special obli- 
gation to promote peace. 

December 15, 1896 

198. The homage rendered the Holy Father by the World Peace 
Congress, recently held in Budapest, and of which you were the 
spokesman, pleased him exceedingly. He readily recognized this 
expression of confidence as a public testimony of respect for the 
high office of peace with which the Head of the Church is vested. 
As a matter of fact, it was the most outstanding duty of the chief 
Prince of the Church, who has at all times placed his authority and 
influence in the service of civilization and of concord among peoples, 
to bring the world under the influence of justice and peace, and 
to unite all nations, as in a single family, by the bonds of Christian 
brotherhood. The Pope who today rules the Church has of his 
own initiative put his heart and soul to this extraordinary Christian 
and beneficent work, and he will not cease to devote his solicitude 
and efforts to this work in the future. He is strengthened in this 
intention by the conviction, of which men are becoming more and 
more conscious, that the foundations on which civil society rests 
are performance of all duties and respect for all rights, that the 
law of reason succeeds the law of force, and that a new era of true 
civilization will facilitate for the human family the fulfillment 
of their chief duties. . . . 

1)0 Original German, Miiller, Das Friedenswerk^ der Kirche, pp. 344-345. 


[199-200] LEO XIII 


ITALY.* 7 

The Catholic religion, which teaches justice and honor, 
is the enemy of disorder and insurrection. 

August 5, 1898 

199 We did not fail to raise Our voice against these 

serious and repeated attacks. We complained of them on account 
of our holy Religion, exposed to the greatest dangers; We com- 
plained of them also and We say this with all the sincerity of 
Our heart on account of our country, because Religion is the 
source of prosperity and greatness for the nation and the principal 
foundation of every well-regulated society. And, in fact, when the 
religious sentiment, which elevates and ennobles the soul and deeply 
impresses upon it the ideas of justice and honor, is weakened, man 
declines and abandons himself to savage instincts and material 
interests; whence follow, as a logical result, rancors, divisions, 
depravity, conflicts and disturbance of order, for which evils sure 
and sufficient remedies are not to be found either in the severity 
of the laws, or the harshness of the tribunals, or the use of armed 
force itself. To this natural and intrinsic connection between reli- 
gious decadence and the development of insurrection and disorder, 
We have often called the attention of those with whom rests the 
formidable responsibility of power, pointing out in public docu- 
ments addressed to the Italian people the progress of Socialism 
and anarchy and the endless evils to which they exposed the 

200. But then took place the painful occurrences which, accom- 
panied by tumults and the shedding of citizens' blood, brought 
disaster to several districts in Italy. No one suffered more in mind 
or was more disturbed than We at this sad sight. We thought, 
however, that at the beginning of these outbreaks and these strug- 
gles between brethren, those who have the direction of public affairs 
would recognize the unhappy but natural fruit of the evil seed 
scattered so widely, and for such a long time scattered with im- 
punity, throughout the whole peninsula; We thought that, going 
back from the effects to the causes, and profiting by the bitter 

97 Translation from The American Ecclesiastical Review, v. 19, pp. 392-397 (1898). 
Original Italian, A.S.S., v. 31, pp. 129-133 (1898-1899). 

9 2 


lessons received, they would return to the Christian standards o 
social order by which nations are restored, if they are not allowed 
to perish, and that, therefore, they would hold in honor the prin- 
ciples of justice, probity and religion to which are to be mainly 
attributed even the material welfare of the people. We thought at 
least that in looking for the authors and accomplices of these out- 
breaks they would seek them amongst those who oppose Catholic 
teaching, and, through naturalism and scientific and political 
materialism, stir up every kind of inordinate cupidity amongst those 
who, under cover of sectarian gatherings, conceal evil designs and 
take up arms against order and the security of society. And indeed 
there were not wanting even in the camp of the enemy some 
elevated and impartial minds who understood and had the praise- 
worthy courage to proclaim publicly the true cause of the lamentable 

201. The Italian Catholics, by virtue of the immutable and well- 
known principles of their Religion, eschew all conspiracy and re- 
bellion against the public authorities, to which they render due 
tribute. Their conduct in the past, to which all impartial men can 
render honorable testimony, is a guarantee of their conduct in the 
future, and this ought to be sufficient to assure them the justice 
and liberty to which all peaceful citizens have a right. More than 
this, being, owing to the doctrine they profess, the strongest sup- 
porters of order, they are entitled to respect, and if virtue and merit 
were adequately appreciated, they would also have a right to the 
regard and gratitude of those at the head of public affairs 

FOR RussiA. 98 

Peace cannot be established if it does not rest on the 
foundation of Christian public law. 

September 15, 1898 

202. . . . The noble initiative of His Majesty corresponds to 
one of the most ardent wishes of the Sovereign Pontiff. The Pope 
holds that peace cannot possibly be established if it does not rest 

y8 Original French, Revue des Deux-Mondes, v. 154, p. 593 sqq. 


[203-206] LEO XIII 

on the foundation of Christian public law, from which comes the 
concord of princes among themselves and of peoples with their 

203. In order that mutual mistrust, and the reciprocal motives 
of offense and defense which have led the nations of our day to 
develop their armaments, should cease, and in order that a spirit 
of peace, spreading throughout the universe, should lead nations 
to regard one another as brothers, Christian justice must have full 
vigor in the world, the maxims of the Gospel must again be held 
in honor, and the difficult art of governing peoples must have as 
its principal element that fear of God which is the beginning of 

204. Men have wished to regulate the relations among nations 
by a new law founded on utilitarian interests, on the predom- 
inance of force, on the success of accomplished deeds, and on other 
theories which are the negation of the eternal and immutable prin- 
ciples of justice. This is the capital error which has brought Europe 
to a state of disaster. 

205. Against such a baneful system, the Holy See has not ceased 
to raise its voice in order to arouse the attention of princes and 
peoples. Already, during the Middle Ages, by means of the happy 
unity of Christendom, the voice of the Roman Pontiffs found every- 
where easy access; it succeeded by the force of its authority alone to 
conciliate princes and peoples, to put an end to quarrels by words 
of arbitration, to defend the weak against the unjust oppression of 
the strong, to prevent war, and to save Christian civilization. 

206. Today again, although the conditions of the world are 
changed, the Pope does not cease to use his moral power with a 
constant solicitude, in order to fill the minds of peoples with the 
Christian idea of justice and of love, to recall nations to the re- 
ciprocal duties of brotherhood, to inculcate respect for the authority 
established by God for the good of peoples, and to oppose to the 
law of might the might of law, in conformity with the principles 
of the Gospel 




Mediation and arbitration, not force, are the solution 
for international disputes. 

February 10, 1899 

207 There is lacking in the international consortium 

of nations a system of legal and moral means proper to determine, 
to make good the right of each. There only remains, then, imme- 
diate recourse to force. The result is the rivalry of nations in the 
development of their military power. . . . 

208. ... In view of such an unfortunate state of things, the 
institution of mediation and arbitration appears to be the most 
opportune remedy; it corresponds in all respects to the aspirations 
of the Holy See, .Perhaps and this will be better brought out in 
the discussions of the Conference perhaps we cannot hope that 
arbitration, obligatory by its very nature, can become in all circum- 
stances the object of unanimous acceptance and assent. An institu- 
tion of mediation, invested with authority, clothed with all the 
necessary moral prestige, fortified with the indispensable guarantees 
of competence and impartiality, in no way restraining the liberty 
of the litigating parties, would be less exposed to meet obstacles. 100 

209. ... At the same time, the Holy See expresses the most 
ardent wish that in the councils of the powers the principle of 
mediation and of arbitration may find a favorable welcome and 
may be applied as widely as possible. It gives its keenest sympathy 
to such a proposal and it declares that it is always disposed to 
co-operate most willingly in order that such a proposal may have a 
favorable issue. For it is convinced that, if an effective international 
accord could be realized, the latter would have a most happy effect 
in the interests of civilization. 

"Original French, Revue des Deux-Mondes, v. 154, pp. 597-598 (1899). 
100 Such an institution was the permanent International Court of Arbitration of 
The Hague. 

[210-212] LEO XIII 


History clearly teaches how often the Popes have 
worked for peace among nations. 

April ii , 1899 

210. Gladly Our thoughts, Lord Cardinal, turn to the fact 102 
which you have just mentioned, which We Ourselves have antici- 
pated by desire and which comes now as a ray of sunlight to console 
the decline of the century. To make rarer and less bloody the 
terrible play of arms, and thus to prepare the way for a more tran- 
quil social life is such an enterprise that it will make illustrious in 
the history of civilization him who had sufficient intelligence and 
courage to take the initiative in it. Thus, from the very beginning, 
We have greeted this plan with that eagerness of will which befits 
him who has the supreme task of promoting and disseminating on 
earth the peaceful influence of the Gospel. We do not cease to 
pray that this noble enterprise may result in complete and universal 
success. Heaven grant that this first step may lead to the experi- 
ment of resolving disputes among nations by means of purely moral 
and persuasive measures. 

211. What could be more ardently wished for and desired by 
the Church, mother of nations, the natural enemy of violence and 
bloodshed, who could not happily fulfill her sacred rites without 
dispelling by her prayers the scourge of war? The spirit of the 
Church is a spirit of humanity, of sweetness, of concord, of universal 
charity. Her mission, like that of Christ, is peaceful and peace- 
making by nature because she has for her object the reconciliation 
of man with God. Hence, results the efficacy of the religious power 
to translate into actuality true peace among men, not only in the 
realm of conscience, which it does every day, but also in the public 
and social order, by reason always of the liberty of action granted to 
her; an action, which, when it has intervened directly in the great 
affairs of the world, has never been exerted without producing some 
public benefit. 

212. It suffices to recall how many times it has been given to 
the Roman Pontiffs to put a stop to oppressions, to dispel wars, to 
obtain truces, agreements, treaties of peace. They have been moved 

101 Original Italian, Civilta Cattolica, sen 17, v. 6, pp. 354-355 (April 24, 1899). 

102 The International Peace Conference being held at The Hague. 


ANNUM SACRUM [213-214] 

by the realization of their exalted office, by the driving force of 
their spiritual fatherhood, which unites brothers and saves them. 
Woe to the civilization of nations if the papal authority had not 
hastened in certain crises to curb the inhuman instincts of tyranny 
and conquest, by claiming in law and in fact the natural supremacy 
of reason over force. Thus speak the indissolubly united names of 
Alexander III and Legnano, of St. Ghislieri (family name of Pope 
St. Pius V) and Lepanto. 

213. Such is the- intrinsic virtue of the religious power. Contra- 
dictions and pressure may be able, here and there, to hinder the 
effects; but in itself it lives immutable and indefectible. So that, 
whatever may be the fortune of the times, the Church of God will 
follow her course with serenity, always doing good. Her gaze is 
towards heaven, but her action embraces heaven and earth because 
all things have been united in Christ, the things of heaven as those 
of earth. That is why the promise of a true and lasting prosperity 
by purely human means would be a vain illusion. It would even 
be regression and ruin to try to deprive civilization of the breath 
of Christianity which gives life and form to it and which alone 
can preserve for it the solidity of existence and the fruitfulness of 


a To insure peace between nations there must be a closer 
bond between religion and civil society. 

May 25, 1899 

214. ...... This world-wide and solemn testimony of allegi- 
ance and piety is especially appropriate to Jesus Christ, Who is the 
Head and Supreme Lord of the race. His empire extends not only 
over Catholic nations and those who, having been duly washed in 
the waters of holy baptism, belong of right to the Church, although 
erroneous opinions keep them astray, or dissent from her teaching 
cuts them off from her care; it comprises also all those who are 

103 Translation from The Holy Ghost and the Sacred Heart (Catholic Truth Society 
of England Pamphlet), pp. 24-29. Original Latin, A.S.S., v. 31, pp. 647-650 


[215-216] LEO XIII 

deprived of the Christian Faith, so that the whole human race is 
most truly under the power of Jesus Christ 

215. Such an act of consecration, since it can establish or draw 
tighter the bonds which naturally connect public affairs with God, 
gives to States a hope of better things. In these latter times espe- 
cially, a policy has been followed which has resulted in a sort of 
wall being raised between the Church and civil society. In the 
constitution and administration of States the authority of sacred 
and divine law is utterly disregarded, with a view to the exclusion 
of religion from having any constant part in public life. This policy 
almost tends to the removal of the Christian Faith from our midst, 
and, if that were possible, to the banishment of God Himself from 
the earth. When men's minds are raised to such a height of in- 
solent pride, what wonder is it that the greater part of the human 
race should have fallen into such disquiet of mind and be buffeted 
by waves so rough that no one is suffered to be free from anxiety 
and peril? When religion is once discarded it follows of necessity 
that the surest foundations of the public welfare must give way, 
whilst God, to inflict on His enemies the punishment they so richly 
deserve, has left them the prey of their own evil desires, so that 
they . . . wear themselves out by excess of liberty. 

216. Hence that abundance of evils which have now for a long 
time settled upon the world, and which pressingly call upon us to 
seek for help from Him by Whose strength alone they can be driven 
away. Who can He be but Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of 
God? For there is no other name under heaven given to men 
whereby we must be saved r . 104 We must have recourse to Him 
Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. We have gone astray 
and we must return to the right path: darkness has overshadowed 
our minds, and the gloom must be dispelled by the light of truth: 
death has seized upon us, and we must lay hold of life. It will at 
length be possible that our many wounds be healed and all justice 
spring forth again with the hope of restored authority; that the 
splendors of peace be renewed, and swords and arms drop from the 
hand when all men shall acknowledge the empire of Christ and 
willingly obey His word, and every tongue shall confess that Our 
Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father* 

104 Acts, IV, 12. 
im PMippians, II, 11. 

NOUS NE POUVONS [217-218] 



The Popes always have and always will wor\ for peace 
among the nations. 

May 29, 1899 

217. We cannot but find agreeable the letter by which Your 
Majesty, in announcing to Us the meeting of the Conference for 
Peace 107 in Your capital, did Us the courtesy to request Our moral 
support for that assembly. We hasten to express Our keen sympathy 
for the august initiator of the Conference, 108 and for Your Majesty, 
who extended to it such spontaneous and noble hospitality, and for 
the eminently moral and beneficent object toward which the labors 
already begun are tending, 

218. We consider that it comes especially within Our province 
not only to lend Our moral support to such enterprises, but to co- 
operate actively in them, for the object in question is supremely 
noble in its nature and intimately bound up with Our August 
Ministry, which, through the- Divine Founder of the Church, and 
in virtue of traditions of many secular instances, has been invested 
with the highest possible mission, that of being a mediator of 
peace. In fact, the authority of the Supreme Pontiff goes beyond 
the boundaries of nations; it embraces all peoples, to the end of 
federating them in the true peace of the Gospel. His action to 
promote the general good of humanity rises above the special 
interests which the chiefs of the various States have in view, and, 
better than any one else, his authority knows how to incline toward 
concord peoples of diverse nature and character. History itself bears 
witness to all that has been done, by the influence of Our Predeces- 
sors, to soften the inexorable laws of war, to arrest bloody conflicts 
when controversies have arisen between princes, to terminate peace- 
fully even the most acute differences between nations, to vindicate 
courageously the rights of the weak against the pretensions of the 
strong. Even unto Us, notwithstanding the abnormal condition to 
which We are at present reduced, it has been given to put an end 

106 Translation from Holls, The Peace Conference at The Hagtie, pp. 339-34O. Original 

French, A3.S., v. 32, pp. 65-67 (1900). 

107 The First Peace Conference at The Hague. 

108 The Czar Nicholas II of Russia. 


[219-220] LEO XIII 

to grave differences between great nations such as Germany and 
Spain, 109 and this very day We hope to be able soon to establish 
concord between two nations of South America 110 which have sub- 
mitted their controversy to Our arbitration. 

219. In spite of obstacles which may arise. We shall continue, 
since it rests with Us to fulfill that traditional mission, without 
seeking any other object than the public weal, without envying any 
glory but that of serving the sacred cause of Christian civiliza- 


Priests must teach the salutary principles of religion 
which furnish the only solution for the crisis. 

September 8, 1899 

220 The present times are evil; the future is still 

more gloomy and menacing, and seems to herald the approach of 
a redoubtable crisis and social upheaval. It behooves us, then, as 
We have said on many occasions, to honor the salutary principles 
of Religion, as well as those of justice, charity, respect and duty. 
It is for us to imbue men's souls with these principles and espe- 
cially those souls which have become captive to infidelity or dis- 
turbed by destroying passions, to bring about the reign of the grace 
and peace of our Divine Redeemer, Who is the Light and the 
Resurrection and the Life, and in Him to unite all men, notwith- 
standing the inevitable social distinctions which divide them. Yet, 
now more than ever, is there need of the help and devotedness of 
exemplary priests, full of faith, discretion and zeal, who, taking 
inspiration from the gentleness and energy of Jesus Christ, Whose 
.true ambassadors they are ... to announce with a courageous and 
inexhaustible patience the eternal truths which are seldom fruitless 
of virtue in men's souls 

109 The' dispute over the Caroline Islands in 1885. 

110 The difficulty of establishing a boundary between Haiti and Santo Domingo. 

111 Translation from The Catholic University Bulletin, v. 5, p. 501 (1899). Original 

French, A.S.S., v. 32, p. 213 (1900). 



ALLOCUTION Auspicandac Celebritatis TO THE COLLEGE OF 


Leo XIII regrets the exclusion of the Holy See -from the 
International Peace Conference at The Hague. 

December 14, 1899 

221 Meanwhile, the year nearing its end brought 

forth another setback combined with injury to the Apostolic See, 
and one condemned by the universal agreement of men who judge 
justly, which We could not tolerate in silence; We refer to the con- 
ference of legates of the highest rulers at The Hague. At the 
suggestion of the august Czar of Russia, there was to be a consul- 
tation about establishing more firmly the peace of empires and 
about restricting both the frequency and cruelty of wars. What 
could be more deserving of the support of the Pontiff? In truth, 
to contend for justice, to bring about peace, to prevent quarrels, 
is divinely fixed in the Roman Pontificate; all previous ages have 
recognized this both in judgment and in practice. That Our Pre- 
decessors have frequently performed these functions to the great 
advantage of Christian nations is too well-known to need mention. 

222. In fact, even from the beginning, the help of 'Our author- 
ity had been spontaneously sought for that undertaking at once 
so fruitful and so noble; even then, it was desired, and for the most 
part opinions were inclined to give Us a place in The Hague 
Conference, One voice out of all dissented, and indeed it contin- 
ued stubborn in its dissent as long as it aroused opposition against 
Us: the voice of those very men, I say, who have exposed the 
supreme ruler of the Church to their power by their capture of 
the City. What hostility should We not fear from such men, when 
they do not hesitate in the sight of Europe to offer violence to the 
sanctity of the laws and the duties which proceed spontaneously 
from the Apostolic Office? Nevertheless, of whatever sort future 
times may be, they shall find Us, with God's help, neither conniving 
nor fearful 

112 Original Latin, A.S.S., v. 32, pp. 322-323 (1900). 


[223-224] LEO XIII 


The Pope as\s all to fray for a speedy end to the war in 
South Africa. 

March 2, 1900 

223 For the rest, it will not appear foreign to the 

nature of today's celebrations to invite you, as We do, to join with 
Us in the holy union of a prayer for a purpose altogether conformed 
to the dictates of that evangelical love which knows neither distance 
of place nor difference of race. Let us all unitedly supplicate the 
Lord that He deign to look with pity on the bloody duel which 
has been fought for months on the African land, and that He 
permit it not to continue further. They are all His sons and our 
brothers who suffer in the difficult trial of the anxieties and engage- 
ments of war. May the blessed God look upon them with a fatherly 
eye, extinguish their wrath, and lead their hearts to sentiments 
of reciprocal moderation and agreement, so that they may come, 
as soon as possible, to a loyal and solid friendship consecrated by 
the mutual kiss of peace and of justice. . . . 


// Christ is j or gotten or excluded from civil society, the 
peace and security of States will be completely under- 

November i, 1900 

224 When Jesus had blotted but the handwriting 

which was contrary to us, and fastened it to the cross, the wrath of 
heaven was immediately appeased; the disordered and erring race 
of man had the bonds of their ancient slavery loosed, the Will of 
God was reconciled to them, grace restored, the way to eternal hap- 
piness opened, and the tide to possess and the means of attaining 
it both given back. Then, as though awakened from a long-linger- 
ing and deadly lethargy, man beheld the light of truth so long 
desired, but for generations sought in vain; he recognized, in 

113 Translation from The Tablet, v. 95, p. 374 (March 10, 1900). Original Italian, 

Civiltd Cattolica, ser. 17, v. 9, pp. 738-739 (1900). 
114 Translation from The Great Encyclical Letters of Pope Leo XIII, pp. 465-476, 

Original Latin, A.S.S., v. 33, pp. 275-284 (1900-1901). 


TAMETSI [225-226] 

particular, that he was born for much higher and more splendid 
things than the frail and fleeting objects of sense, to which he had 
formerly confined his thoughts and pursuits, and that this was in 
fine the constitution and supreme law of human life, and the end 
to which all must tend, that as we came from God so we should 
one day return to Him. From this beginning and on this founda- 
tion consciousness of human dignity was restored and lived again; 
the sense of a common brotherhood took possession of men's hearts; 
their rights and duties in consequence were perfected or established 
anew and virtues beyond the imagination or conception of ancient 
philosophy were revived. So men's purposes, tenor of life, and 
characters were changed, and the knowledge of the Redeemer hav- 
ing spread far and wide, and His power having penetrated into 
the very life-blood of nations, expelling their ignorance and their 
ancient vices, a marvelous transformation took place, which, origi- 
nating in Christian civilization, utterly changed the face of the 

225. Besides, to suffer and to bear is the lot of humanity. Man 
can no more construct for himself a life free from pain and replete 
with every happiness than he can annul the counsels of his divine 
Creator, Who has willed that the consequences of our fault should 
remain in perpetuity. It is proper, therefore, not to look for an 
end of pain upon the earth, but to strengthen our mind to bear pain 
which, in fact, educates us to the attainment of the greatest of all 
good things for which we hope. For it is not to wealth and luxury, 
nor to worldly honors and powers that Christ has promised eternal 
happiness in heaven, but to patient suffering and tears, to the desire 
of justice and to cleanness of heart. ...... 

226. The case of governments is much the same as that of the 
individual; they also must run into fatal issues, if they depart from 
the Way. The Creator and Redeemer of human nature, the Son 
of God, is King and Lord of the world, and holds absolute 
sovereignty over men, both as individuals and as members of society. 
He hath given to Him power and honor and dominion, and all 
peoples, tribes, and languages shall serve Him. 115 Yet am I estab- 
lished King by Him I will give Thee the nations for Thine 

inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Thy possession There- 

115 Daniel VII, 14. 

116 Psalmf, II, 6, 8. 


[227-228] LEO XIII 

fore, the law of Christ ought to hold sway in human society, and 
in communities so far as to be the teacher and guide of public no 
less than private life. This being divinely appointed and provided, 
no one may resist with impunity, and it fares ill with any common- 
wealth in which Christian institutions are not allowed their proper 
place. Let Jesus be excluded, and human reason is left without its 
greatest protection and illumination; the very notion is easily lost 
of the end for which God created human society, to wit: that by 
help of their civil union the citizens should attain their natural 
good, but nevertheless in a way not to conflict with that highest 
and most perfect and enduring good which is above nature. Their 
minds busy with a hundred confused projects, rulers and subjects 
alike travel a devious road; bereft, as they are, of safe guidance 
and fixed principle 

227. . . . How little that kind of virtue which despises faith 
avails in the end, and what sort of fruit it brings forth, we see only 
too plainly. Why is it that with so much zeal displayed for estab- 
lishing and augmenting the commonwealth, nations still have to 
labor and yet in so many and such important matters fare worse 
and worse every day? They say indeed that civil society is self- 
dependent, that it can go on happily without the protection of 
Christian institutions, that by its own unaided energies it can reach 
its goal. Hence, they prefer to have public affairs conducted on a 
secular basis, so that in civil discipline and public life there are 
always fewer and fewer traces discernible of the old religious spirit. 
They do not see what they are doing. Take away the supremacy 
of God, Who judges right and wrong; and law necessarily loses 
its paramount authority, while at the same time justice is under- 
mined, these two being the strongest and most essential bonds of 
social union. In the same way, when the hope and expectation 
of immortality are gone, it is only human to seek greedily after 
perishable things, and everyone will try, in proportion to his power, 
to clutch a larger share of tjiem. Hence spring jealousies, envies, 
hatreds; the most iniquitous plots to overthrow all power and mad 
schemes, of universal ruin are formed. There is no peace abroad, 
nor security at home, and social life is made hideous by crime. 

228. In such strife of passions, in such impending perils, we 
must either look for utter ruin, or some effective remedy must be 
found without delay. To restrain evil-doers, to soften the manners 


TAMETSI [229] 

of our populations, to deter them from committing crimes by legis- 
lative intervention, is right and necessary; but that is by no means 
all. The healing of the nations goes deeper; a mightier influence 
must be invoked than human endeavor, one that may touch the 
conscience and reawaken the sense of duty, the same influence that 
has once already delivered from destruction a world overwhelmed 
with far greater evils. 

229. Do away with the obstacles to the spirit of Christianity; 
revive and make it strong in the State, and the State will be 
recreated. The strife between high and low will at once be appeased, 
and each will observe with mutual respect the rights of the other. 
If they listen to Christ, the prosperous and the unfortunate will 
both alike remember their duty; the one will feel that they must 
keep justice and charity, if they would be saved; the other that 
they must show temperance and moderation. Domestic society 
will have been solidly established under a salutary fear of the divine 
commands and prohibitions; and so likewise in society at large, 
the precepts of the natural law will prevail, which tells us that it 
is right to respect lawful authority, and to obey the laws, to do no 
seditious act nor contrive anything by unlawful association. Thus, 
when Christian law exerts its power without being thwarted in any 
way, naturally and without effort the order of society is maintained 
as constituted by divine Providence, and prosperity and public safety 
are secured. The security of the State demands that we should be 
brought back to Him from Whom we ought never to have departed, 
to Him Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, not as individ- 
uals merely, but as human society through all its extent. Christ our 
Lord must be reinstated as the Ruler of human society. It belongs 
to Him, as do all its members. All the elements of the common- 
wealth; legal commands and prohibitions, popular institutions, 
schools, marriage, home life, the workshop and the palace, all must 
be made to come to that Fountain and imbibe the life that comes 
from Him. No one should fail to see that on this largely depends 
the civilization of nations, which is so eagerly sought, but which 
is nourished and augmented not so 'much by bodily comforts and 
conveniences, as by what belongs to the soul, viz., commendable 
lives and the cultivation of virtue 


[230-233] LEO XIII 



Although nations and peoples may differ in race and 
in language, they are one in Christ. 

August 20, 1901 

230 Certainly the keeping of one's native tongue, if 

it be restricted with certain bounds, does not deserve blame; yet 
what holds with regard to other rights of private individuals must 
be considered to hold here also lest the public good of the common- 
. wealth suffer harm from their exercise 

231. And so, Venerable Brethren, We vehemently desire and 
urge that the faithful entrusted to each of you, even though they 
be different in origin and language, nevertheless retain that rela- 
tionship of soul which is by far the most noble; and which is 
begotten of communion of faith and of the same sacred rites. For 
as many as are baptized in Christ have the one Lord and the one 
Faith; and, therefore, they are one body and one spirit as they are 
called in one hope of their calling. 118 . . . 

232. Therefore, this relationship of soul which comes from 
Christ is to be inculcated assiduously* among the faithful, and is to 
be extolled with all zeal. "The brotherhood of Christ indeed is 
greater than that of blood; for brotherhood of blood shows a like- 
ness of body only, but the brotherhood of Christ shows a oneness 
of heart and soul, as it is written: 119 There was one heart and one 
soul in the multitude of believers" 

233. Under the ' circumstances, it is necessary that members of 
the sacred clergy precede others by their example. For in addition 
to the fact that it is not in keeping with their office to become 
involved in dissensions of this kind, if they are in places inhabited 
by men of different race and different language, they will easily, 
unless they abstain from all appearance of contention, become 
hateful and offensive to both parties, and nothing is more detri- 
mental to the exercise of their sacred office than this. The faithful 

117 Original Latin, A.S.S., v. 34, pp. 321-322 (1902). 

118 Cf. Ephesians IV, 4. 

119 Sermon of St. Maximus found among St. Augustine's Wor^s; cf. Migne, P.L., 

v. 39, c. 1937. 

120 Acts, IV, 32. 

1 06 

PERVENUTI [ 2 34' 2 35] 

should know through actual experience that the ministers of the 
Church value only the eternal interests of souls and do not desire 
at all the things that are their own, but only the things that are 
of Jesus Christ 



As nations continue to repudiate Christian principles, 
war becomes more certain. 

March 19, 1902 

234 Consequent upon the repudiation of those Chris- 
tian principles which had contributed so efficaciously to unite the 
nations in the bonds of brotherhood and to bring all humanity 
into one great family, there has arisen little by little, in the inter- 
national order, a system of jealous egoism, in consequence of which 
the nations now watch each other, if not with hate, at least with 
the suspicion of rivals. Hence, in their great undertakings they lose 
sight of the lofty principles of morality and justice and forget the 
protection which the feeble and oppressed have a right to demand. 

235. In the desire by which they are actuated to increase their 
national riches, they 'regard only the opportunity which circum- 
stances afford, the advantages of successful enterprises, and the 
tempting bait of an accomplished fact, sure that no one will trouble 
them in the name of right or the respect which right can claim. 
Such are the fatal principles which have consecrated material power 
as the supreme law of the world, and to them is to be imputed the 
limitless increase of military establishments and that armed peace 
which in many respects is equivalent to a disastrous war. This 
lamentable confusion in the realm of ideas has produced restlessness 
among the people, outbreaks and the general spirit of rebellion. 
From these have sprung the frequent popular agitations and dis- 
orders of our times which are only the preludes of much more 
terrible disorders in the future 

121 Translation from American Ecclesiastical Review, v. 26, p. 690 (June, 1902). 
Original Italian, A.S.S., v. 34, pp. 519-520 (1902). 


[236-238] LEO XIII 


It is because men and nations fail to practice Chris- 
tian charity that dissensions and wars arise. 

May 28, 1902 

236 Indeed, it is greatly to be desired that those men 

would rightly esteem and would make due provision for life ever- 
lasting whose industry or talents or rank have put it in their power 
to shape the course of human events. But, alas! we see with sorrow 
that such men too often proudly flatter themselves that they have 
conferred upon this world, as it were, a fresh lease of life and 
prosperity, inasmuch as by their own energetic action they are 
urging it on to the race for wealth, to a struggle for the possession 
of commodities which minister to the love of comfort and display. 
And yet, whithersoever we turn, we see that human society, if it 
be estranged from God, instead of enjoying that peace in its posses- 
sions for which it had sought, is shaken and tossed like one who 
is in the agony and heat of fever; for while it anxiously strives for 
prosperity, and trusts to it alone, it is pursuing an object that ever 
escapes it, clinging to one that ever eludes the grasp. For as men 
and States alike necessarily have their being from God, so they can 
do nothing good except in God through Jesus Christ, through 
Whom every best and choicest gift has ever proceeded and pro- 
ceeds. But the source and chief of all these gifts is the venerable 
Eucharist, which not only nourishes and sustains that life, the desire 
whereof demands our most strenuous efforts, but also enhances 
beyond measure that dignity of man of which in these days we 
hear so much. ...... 

237. Furthermore, if anyone will diligently examine into the 
causes of the evils of our day, he will find that they arise from this, 
that as charity towards God has grown cold, the mutual charity of 
men among themselves has likewise cooled. Men have forgotten 
that they are children of God and brethren in Jesus Christ; they 
care for nothing except their own individual interests; the interests 
and the rights of others they not only make light of, but often 
attack and invade. 

238. Hence, frequent disturbances and strifes between class and 

122 Translation from The Great Encyclical Letters of Pope Leo XIII, pp. 522-529. Orig- 
inal Latin, A.S.S., v. 34, pp. 644-649 (1902). 



class: arrogance, oppression, fraud on the part o the more powerful: 
misery, envy and turbulence among the poor. These are evils for 
which it is in vain to seek a remedy in legislation, in threats of 
penalties to be incurred, or in any other device of merely human 
prudence. Our chief care and endeavor ought to be, according to 
the admonitions which We have more than once given at consider- 
able length, to secure the union of classes in a mutual interchange 
of dutiful services, a union which, having its origin in God, shall 
issue in deeds that reflect the true spirit of Jesus Christ and a 
genuine charity. This charity Christ brought into the world; with 
it He would have all hearts on fire. For it alone is capable of 
affording to soul and body alike, even in this life, a foretaste of 
blessedness; since it restrains man's inordinate self-love, and puts 
a check on avarice, which is the root of all evil^ z And whereas 
it is right to uphold all the claims of justice as between the various 
classes of society, nevertheless, it is only with the efficacious aid of 
charity, which tempers justice, that the equality which St. Paul com- 
mended, 124 and which is so salutary for human society, can be 
established and maintained. . . . All of which is confirmed by the 
declaration of the Council of Trent that Christ left the Eucharist 
in His Church "as a symbol of that unity and charity whereby He 
would have all Christians mutually joined and united ... a sym- 
bol of that one body of which He is Himself the Head, and to 
which He would have us, as members, attached by the closest bonds 
of faith, hope, and charity." 125 

123 1 Timothy, VI, 10. 

]24 II Corinthians, VIII, 14. 

125 Council of Trent, Session XIII, De Eucharistia, c. II. 






cc/" | ^o RESTORE all things in Christ" was the lofty ambition o 
I Giuseppe Melchior Cardinal Sarto, Patriarch of Venice, 

-*- when as Pius X on August 4, 1903, he succeeded Leo XIII 
in the papacy. In origin, experience, temperament he differed 
greatly from the aristocratic diplomat who had preceded him; yet 
Pius X's pontificate, concentrating more on the internal reform of 
the Church, greatly enhanced the new power and influence the 
papacy had attained under Leo. 

Born at Riese in the province of Venice on June 2, 1835, the 
son of a postman, he attended the seminary at Padua, and was 
ordained on September 15, 1858. After doing parish work at Tom- 
bplo, Salzano and Treviso, he was appointed canon of the cathedral 
in 1875, then rector of the seminary, chancellor and vicar general 
of the diocese, and in 1884 was appointed Bishop of Mantua, a 
diocese that had been without a bishop for ten years because of 
difficulties with the Italian government. His zeal in reforming 
Mantua caught the attention of Leo XIII, and in 1893 Bishop Sarto 
was made Cardinal Patriarch of Venice, although he was unable 
to take possession of his diocese for eighteen months because of 
opposition from the government. Ten years later, in the conclave 


of 1903, he was elected pope after Austria had vetoed the election 
of Cardinal Rampolla. 

"A country pastor on the papal throne," one writer calls Pius X, 
since most of his life had been bound up exclusively in pastoral 
work among the common people. A priest of unusual sanctity, of 
surpassing simplicity and gentleness, Pius X kept himself aloof 
from diplomacy and international relations, concentrating more on 
the directly spiritual apostolate of souls. The keynote of his reign 
was the spiritual reform of the Church; and almost every phase 
of Catholic life felt his influence. 

Served throughout his pontificate by a devoted Secretary of State, 
Cardinal Merry del Val, Pius X accomplished much in his eleven 
years. In 1903 he issued a famous Motu Proprio on Church music, 
restoring Gregorian Chant to its primitive preeminent position. In 
1904 he set up a commission to codify Church law. He shortened 
and simplified the Roman breviary, reorganized seminaries, re- 
arranged the Roman congregations. The rising heresy of Modern- 
ism he decisively crushed within the Church by a series of letters 
and decrees in 1907. In 1909 he founded the Biblical Institute in 
Rome to train experts in the field of Scripture studies. 

The early days of his pontificate witnessed a growing anti- 
Catholic spirit in the policies of the French government, culminat- 
ing in the "Law of Separation" of 1905, by which Church property 
was confiscated, and many of the clergy and religious were exiled. 
He relaxed the more severe restrictions made by Pius IX and 
Leo XIII against Catholic participation in Italian politics. 

The last days of his pontificate were saddened by the outbreak 
of the World War. A long, tender letter sent by Pius to the aged 
Emperor Franz Josef was intercepted en route and never reached 
its destination. Pius X died on August 20, 1914. World-wide 
affirmation of his sanctity prompted the recent introduction of 
his cause at Rome. 






Peace without God is an absurdity. 
October 4, 1903 

239 For, Venerable Brethren, who can avoid being 

appalled and afflicted when he beholds, in the midst of a progress 
in civilization which is justly extolled, the greater part of mankind 
fighting among themselves so savagely as to make it seem as though 
strife were universal? The desire for peace is certainly harbored 
in every breast, and there is no one who does not ardently invoke 
it. But to want peace without God is an absurdity, seeing that 
where God is absent thence, too, justice flies, and when justice is 
taken away it is vain to cherish the hope of peace. And the wor\ 
of justice shall be peace? There are many, we are well aware, who, 
in yearning for peace, that is to say, the tranquillity of order, band 
themselves into societies and parties which they style parties of 
order. Hope and labor lost! For there is but one party of order 
capable of restoring peace in the midst of all this turmoil, and that 
is the party of God. It is this party, therefore, that we must advance, 
and to it attract as many as possible, if we are really urged by the 
love of peace 



The Holy See acts as arbitrator in the boundary dispute 
between Brazil, Peru and Bolivia. 

March 27, 1905 

240 Meanwhile, Venerable Brethren, Our soul is still 

cast into sorrow by the terrible war as a result of which the furthest 

"Translation from The American Catholic Quarterly Review, v. 29, p. i3 (January, 
1904). Original Latin, A.S,S., v. 36, pp. 132-133 (1903-1904). 

2 isatas, xxxii, 17. 

3 Original Latin, A.S.S., v. 37, p, 560 (1904-1905). 



shores of the Orient have long been saddened by slaughter, fire 
and bloodshed. How many things there move Us to tears! Hold- 
ing on this earth the place of Him Who is the Author and Con- 
ciliator of peace, We earnestly beg God in a spirit of humility that 
He in His kindness may grant to princes and people plans leading 
to peace. So many and such great evils consume the human race 
everywhere that there is no need that it be troubled also by the 
clash of arms and the strife of war! 

241. How much ought to be conceded on all sides to the desire 
for peace, has recently, and happily been experienced by the rulers 
of Brazil, Peru and Bolivia. For when controversies had arisen 
regarding the determination and government of boundaries between 
the United States of Brazil and the two other nations, that is to say, 
Peru and Bolivia, their long standing harmony seemed to be en- 
dangered. But their governments, adopting a wise and most salutary 
plan, decided that the dispute should be terminated by the arbitra- 
tion of others. Since in this situation they considered very wisely 
that the duty of guarding peace is natural to and innate in the 
Roman Pontificate, by common consent they made the Nuncio of 
the Apostolic See president of the board by whose votes the affair 
was to be decided. While We with joyful mind communicate this 
news to you, Venerable Brethren, it is Our pleasure to give thanks 
publicly to the rulers of the said nations for having wished to show 
such an honor to Us and to the Chair of St. Peter. ...... 


// the Christian ideal were realized, peace and concord 
would reign. It is the duty of Catholic Action to wort^ 
toward this ideal. 

June ii, 1905 

242 The Church, while preaching Jesus crucified, 

Who was a stumbling-block and folly to^the world, 5 has been the 
first inspirer and promoter of civilization. She has spread it 
wherever her Apostles have preached, preserving and perfecting 

4 Translation from The Pope and the People, pp. 190-198. Original Italian, A.S.S., 

v. 37, PP. 745-76i (1904-1905). 
5 1 Corinthians, I, 23. 


f>43" 2 45] PIUS x 

what was good in ancient pagan civilization, rescuing from barbar- 
ism and raising to a form of civilized society the new peoples who 
took refuge in her maternal bosom, and giving to the whole of 
human society, little by little, no doubt, but with a sure and ever 
onward march, that characteristic stamp, which it still everywhere 
preserves. The civilization of the world is Christian civilization; the 
more frankly Christian it is, so much is it more true, more lasting, 
and more productive of precious fruit; the more it withdraws from 
the Christian ideal, so much the feebler is it, to the great detriment 
of society. 

243. Thus, by the intrinsic force of things, the Church becomes 
again in fact the guardian and protector of Christian civilization. 
This truth was recognized and admitted in former times; it even 
formed the immovable foundation of civil legislation. On it rested 
the relations of Church and States, the public recognition of the 
authority of the Church in all matters relating in any way to con- 
science, the subordination of all State laws to the divine laws of 
the Gospel, the harmony of the two powers, civil and ecclesiastical, 
for procuring the temporal well-being of the nations without injury 
to their eternal welfare. 

244. It is unnecessary to tell you what prosperity and happiness, 
what peace and concord, what respectful submission to authority, 
and what excellent government would be established and main- 
tained in the world if the perfect ideal of Christian civilization 
could be everywhere realized. But, given the continual warfare of 
the flesh with the spirit, of darkness with light, of Satan with God, 
we cannot hope for so great a good, at least in its full measure. 
Hence, against the peaceful conquests of the Church arose unceas- 
ing attacks, the more deplorable and fatal as human society tends 
more to govern itself by principles opposed td the Christian ideal, 
and to separate itself wholly from God. ...... 

245. To restore all things in Christ has ever been the Church's 
motto, and it is specially Ours, in the perilous times in which we 
live. To restore all things, not in any fashion, but in Christ; that 
are in heaven, and on earth, in Him? adds the Apostle; to restore 
in Christ not only what directly depends on the divine mission of 
the Church to conduct souls to God, but also, as We have explained, 
that which flows spontaneously from this divine mission, viz., 

Ephesiav$, I, 10. 



Christian civilization in each and every one of the elements which 
compose it. 

246. To dwell only on this last part of the desired restoration, 
you see well what support is given to the Church by those chosen 
bands of Catholics whose aim is to unite all their forces in order 
to combat anti-Christian civilization by every just and lawful means, 
and to repair in every way the grievous disorders which flow from 
it; to reinstate Jesus Christ in the family, the school and society; 
to re-establish the principle that human authority represents that of 
God; to take intimately to heart the interests of the people, especially 
those of the working and agricultural classes, not only by the incul- 
cation of religion, the only true source of comfort in the sorrows 
of life, but also by striving to dry their tears, to soothe their suffer- 
ings, and by wise measures to improve their economic condition; 
to endeavor, consequently, to make public laws conformable to 
justice, to amend or suppress those which are not so; finally, with 
a true Catholic spirit, to defend and support the rights of God in 
everything, and the no less sacred rights of the Church. 

247. All these works, of which Catholic laymen are the principal 
supporters and promoters, and whose form varies according to the 
special needs of each nation, and the particular circumstances of 
each country, constitute what is generally known by a distinctive, 
and surely a very noble name: Catholic Action or Action of Cath- 
olics. This has always come to the aid of the Church, and the 
Church has always welcomed and blessed it, although it has acted 
in various ways in accordance with the age 

248. Further, in order that Catholic Action may be effectual 
on all points, it is not enough that it be adapted to actual social 
needs only; it ought also to be invigorated by all the practical 
methods furnished at the present day by progress in social and 
economic studies, by experience already gained elsewhere, by the 
condition of civil society, and even by the public life of States. 
Otherwise there will be a risk of groping for a long time for new 
and hazardous things, while good and safe ones are ready to hand, 
and have been already well tried; or again, there will be the danger 
of proposing institutions and methods suitable, perhaps, in former 
times, but not understood by people of the present day; or finally, 
there will be the danger of stopping half-way by not using, in the 
measure in which they are granted, those rights of citizenship which 

[249-252] PIUS x 

modern constitutions offer to all, and, therefore, also to Catholics, 

249. We dwell on this last point, for it is certain that the present 
constitution of States offers to all without distinction the power of 
influencing public opinion, and Catholics, while recognizing the 
obligations imposed by the law of God and the precepts of the 
Church, may with safe conscience enjoy this liberty, and prove 
themselves capable, as much as, and even more than others, of 
co-operating in the material and civil well-being of the people, thus 
acquiring that authority and respect which may make it even 
possible for them to defend and promote a higher good, namely, 
that of the soul. 

250. These civil rights are many and various, going as far as 
a direct share in the political life of the country by representing 
the people in the legislature. . . . This makes it incumbent on all 
Catholics to prepare themselves prudently and seriously for political 
life in case they should be called to it. ... 

251. Lastly, in order to renew and increase in all Catholic under- 
takings the necessary enthusiasm, to give to their promoters and 
members an opportunity of seeing and becoming acquainted with 
each other, to draw ever more closely the bonds of brotherly love, 
to enkindle in one another a more burning zeal for efficient action, 
and to provide for the better establishment and spread of the same 
works, a wonderful help will be found in the meeting from time to 
time, according to the rules already given by the Holy See, of 
general or local Congresses of Italian Catholics; and they ought 
to be a solemn manifestation of Catholic faith, and a common 
festival of harmony and peace 

Catholics must stand on the side of peace and order. 
December 3, 1905 

252 The most Holy Religion of Christ demands that 

we never allow ourselves to be carried away by disturbances of 
passion, but rather that a sound mind govern them and compel 
them to submit to control. Wherefore, all Catholics are forbidden 
to belong to factional groups which run counter to the law of God. 

7 Original Latin, A.S.S., v. 38, pp. 324-325 (1906). 


POLONIAE POPULUM [ 2 53' 2 55] 

Nor surely does it free them from guilt, the fact that they do this 
for human advantages. For again Catholic doctrine warns us that 
the gains of eternal goods ought to be preferred to all the fleeting 
advantages of this life, according to the Lord's words: For what 
does it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, but suffer the loss 
of his own soul? 8 

253. With this established as a foundation, so to speak, another 
principle follows: in the midst of the movements and changes by 
which the Russian Empire is now being disturbed, and at the same 
time that part of Poland which is subject to the same empire, 
Catholics must constantly stand on the side of peace and order. 

254. In this situation it should help all to remember what Our 
Predecessor of happy memory wrote to you on March 19, 1894: 
"They who are subject to power ought constantly to observe rever- 
ence and loyalty toward their princes, as though to God exercising 
His rule through man, and obey them: not only for wrath, but also 
for conscience' sa\e? and on their behalf offer supplications, prayers, 
intercessions and thanksgivings^ they should keep holy the disci- 
pline of the State, abstain from the machinations and factions of 
the wicked, and do nothing seditiously, and do everything to pre- 
serve tranquil peace in justice." 11 

255. In order that Catholics may not only love this tranquillity 
of peace and pray ardently for it, but also, as is their duty, hasten 
to bring it to realization and, when obtained, preserve it in safety, 
it is absolutely necessary that, following the examples of the 
turbulent, they enter into societies and groups wherein with 
united plan and effort they may fight efficaciously for religion and 

* Matthew, XVI, 26. 
9 Romans, XIII, 5. 
10 1 TimotAy, II, 1-2. 

11 Encyclical Caritatis of March 19, 1894. Cf. A.S.S., v. 26, p. 525 (1893-1894), 
and supra n. 190. 


[256-257] PIUS x 


Reciprocal security of nations depends mainly on the 
inviolable fidelity and the sacred respect with which 
they observe their treaties. 

February 11, 1906 

256 The Concordat 18 entered upon by the Sovereign 

Pontiff and the French Government was, like all treaties of the 
same kind concluded between States, a bilateral contract binding 
on both parties to it. The Roman Pontiff on the one side and the 
head of the French nation on the other solemnly stipulated both 
for themselves and their successors to maintain inviolate the pact 
they signed. Hence, the same rule applied to the Concordat as to 
all international treaties, viz., the law of nations, which prescribes 
that it could not be in any way annulled by one alone of the con- 
tracting parties. The Holy See has always observed with scrupulous 
fidelity the engagements it has made, and it has always required 
the same fidelity from the State. This is a truth which no im- 
partial judge can deny. Yet to-day the State, by its sole authority, 
abrogates the solemn pact it signed. Thus it violates its sworn 
promise. To break with the Church, to free itself from her friend- 
ship, it has stopped at nothing, and has not hesitated to outrage 
the Apostolic See by this violation of the law of nations, and to 
disturb the social and political order itself for the reciprocal security 
of nations in their relations with one another depends mainly on 
the inviolable fidelity and the sacred respect with which they 
observe their treaties. 

257 Besides the injury it inflicts on the interests of 

the Church, the new law 14 is destined to be most disastrous to your 
country. For there can be no doubt but that it lamentably destroys 
union and concord. And yet without such union and concord no 
nation can live long or prosper. Especially in the present state of 
Europe, the maintenance of perfect harmony must be the most 
ardent wish of everybody in France who loves his country and has 
its salvation at heart. As for Us, following the example of Our 

12 Translation from The American Catholic Quarterly Review, v. 31, pp. 212^-217 

(April, 1906). Original Latin, A.S.S., v. 39, pp. 6-12 (1906). 

13 Concordat of 1801 between Pius VII and Napoleon I. 

14 The Law of Separation between Church and State of 1905. 



Predecessor and inheriting from him a special predilection for your 
nation, We have not confined Ourself to striving for the preserva- 
tion of all the rights of the religion of your forefathers, but with 
that fraternal peace of which religion is certainly the strongest bond, 
ever before Our eyes. We have always endeavored to promote 
unity among you. We cannot, therefore, without the keenest sorrow, 
observe that the French Government has just done a deed which 
inflames, on religious grounds, passions already too dangerously 
excited, and which, therefore, seems to be calculated to plunge the 
whole country into disorder 



In difficulties between the Church and the State the 
Pope forbids seditions and violence but demands firm- 
ness in defense of their natural rights. 

August 10, 1906 

258 Therefore, if they desire to show Us their sub- 
mission and their devotion, let the Catholic men of France struggle 
for the Church in accordance with the directions We have already 
given them that is to say, with perseverance and energy, and yet 
without acting in a seditious and violent manner. It Is not by 
violence, but by firmness, that, fortifying themselves in their good 
right as within a citadel, they will succeed in breaking the obstinacy 
of their enemies. Let them well understand, as We have said and 
as We repeat, that their efforts will be useless unless they unite 
in a perfect understanding for the defense of religion. As they 
now know Our verdict 16 on the subject of this nefarious law, they 
should wholeheartedly conform to it, and whatever the opinions 
of some or others of them may have been hitherto during the dis- 
cussion of the question, We entreat all that no one shall permit 

15 Translation from the Catholic University Bulletin, v. 12, pp. 537-538 (Oct.J 1906). 

Original Latin, A.S.S., v. 39, pp. 389-390 (1906). 

16 The Pope forbade French Catholics to form the associations of worship which were 

required by the Law of Separation. These associations would riave placed control 
of ecclesiastical affairs and church property exclusively in the hands of the laity. 
Later the Law of Separation was amended so that the formation of these associa- 
tions was not necessary. 


[259-261] PIUS x 

himself to wound anyone whomsoever on the pretext that his 
own way of seeing is the best. What can be done by concord 
of will and union of forces, let them learn from their adversaries, 
and just as the latter were able to impose on the nation the stigma 
of this criminal law, so Our people will be able to eliminate and 
remove it 


MlLAN. 17 

The Pope is deeply interested in all peace movements 
throughout the world. 

November 3, 1906 

259. The Holy Father, through His Eminence, the Archbishop 
of Milan, has answered in sympathetic words the respectful greet- 
ings sent him by many delegates to the 151!! World Peace Con- 
gress. This frank expression of sincere sentiments occasioned that 
noble-minded letter that you forwarded to His Holiness in the 
name of the illustrious convention at Milan over which you presided 
last September. His Holiness received this tribute of honor with 
deep gratitude, because it was directed rather to the exalted dignity 
with which he is vested, than to his own person. It acknowledges 
the high office of peace that God has entrusted to the Head of the 
Catholic Church. 

260. History proves that the Popes have always endeavored to 
fulfill this office. The present Pontiff was happy that the oppor- 
tunity was granted him, without his taking the initiative, to carry 
out this mandate. He presided, through one of his representatives, 
over a peace court of arbitration to which three American republics 
committed their differences so that they might avoid war. 

261. One can understand, therefore, the interest with which the 
Holy Father, Pius X, follows the endeavors of the international 
peace associations, as well as his ardent wish to see these efforts 
crowned with success. The assurance of this interest and this wish 
may possibly help to increase that lively zeal which inspires you 
and your colleagues. It is my honor, therefore, to submit to you, in 

17 Original German, Miiller, Das Friedenswer\ der Kirche, pp. 345-346. 



this regard, the above-mentioned clear and definite explanations. 
At the same time the Sovereign Pontiff expresses the hope that the 
great idea that inspires you may be duly esteemed, both in avoiding 
and circumventing the danger of war, and in lessening the terror 
when this danger can no longer be averted 



Catholicism fosters a proper love of one's country. 
April 19, 1909 

262 Venerable Brethren and Beloved Children, be- 
cause you preach and practice the teachings of the Church without 
human respect and in obedience to your conscience, you have had to 
suffer all sorts of insults, you are pointed out for public scorn, you 
are branded as enemies of your country! Have courage, and throw 
back in the face of your accusers this vile calumny which opens 
in your Catholic hearts a wound so deep that it can only be par- 
doned with the help of divine grace. There is not, in fact, any more 
undeserving outrage to your honor and your Faith, for if Catholi- 
cism were an enemy of one's native land, it would no longer be a 
divine religion. 

263. Yes, your country is worthy not only of love but of 
predilection, whose sacred name awakens in your minds the dearest 
memories and thrills all the fibers of your soul, this common land 
which has been your cradle and to which the bonds of blood and 
that other more noble community of affections and traditions attach 
you. But this love of the native soil, these bonds of patriotic brother- 
hood, which are common to all countries, are stronger when the 
terrestrial country remains indissolubly united to that other country, 
the Catholic Church, which knows neither differences of language 
nor the barriers of mountains and seas, which embraces both the 
visible world and that beyond the grave. 

264. This grace, if it is also possessed by other nations, belongs 
especially to you, very dear sons of France, to you who have so 
much at heart the love of your country, because it is united with 
the Church of which you are the defenders. ...... 

18 Original French, A.A.S., v. i, pp. 408-409 (May 15, 1909). 


[ 265-269 ] p i u s x 


The Pope praises the Carnegie Endowment for Inter- 
national Peace on the occasion of its -foundation. 

June ii, 1911 

265. With gladness We have learned from you that in the 
United States of America learned men, under the patronage of a 
group whose influence with the people is very great, are busily 
engaged in making studies the purpose of which is the preservation 
of the benefits of peace for all nations. To compose differences, to 
restrain the outbreak of hostilities, to prevent the dangers of war, 
to remove even the anxieties of so-called armed peace is, indeed, 
most praiseworthy, and any effort in this cause, even though it 
may not immediately or wholly accomplish its purpose, manifests, 
nevertheless, a zeal which cannot but redound to the credit of its 
authors and be of benefit to the States. 

266. This is especially true at the present day, when vast armies, 
instrumentalities most destructive to human life, and the advanced 
state of military science portend wars which must be a source of 
fear even to the most powerful rulers. 

267. Wherefore, We most heartily commend the work already 
begun, which should be approved by all good men and especially 
by Us, holding as We do, the supreme pontificate of the Church 
and representing Him Who is both the God and the Prince of 
Peace; and We most gladly lend the weight of Our authority to 
those who are striving to realize this most beneficent purpose. 

268. For We do not doubt that the same distinguished men 
who possess so much ability and such wisdom in affairs of State 
will construct in behalf of a struggling age a royal road for the 
nations leading to peace and conciliation in accordance with the 
laws of justice and charity, which should be sacredly observed by 
all. For, inasmuch as peace consists in order, who will vainly think 
that it can be established unless he strives with all the force within 
him that due respect be everywhere given to those virtues which 
are the principles of order and its firmest foundation? 

269. As for the remaining aspects of the matter, We recall to 

19 Translation from Schaefer, A Papal Peace Mosaic, pp. 14-15. Original Latin, A.A.S., 
v - 3 PP- 473-474 (September 30, 1911). 



mind the example of so many of Our illustrious Predecessors, who. 
when the condition of the times permitted, rendered, in this very 
matter also, the most signal service to the cause of humanity and to 
the stability of governments; but since the present age allows Us 
to aid in this cause only by pious prayers to God, We, therefore, 
most earnestly pray God, Who knows the hearts of men and inclines 
them as He wills, that He may be gracious to those who are further- 
ing peace among the peoples, and may grant to the nations which, 
with united purposes, are laboring to this end, that the destruction 
of war and its disasters being averted, they may at length find 
repose in the beauty of peace 


The Holy Father as\s the Mexican Catholics to encour- 
age the -present peace movement in their country. 

May 9, 1914 

270. The Holy Father, Pius X, inspired by the paternal affec- 
tion which he cherishes for Mexico and preoccupied with the supreme 
interests of your dearly beloved nation, desires most earnestly that 
the generous initiative of the three South American conferences 
for peace may meet with efficacious support from Mexican Catholics 
for the public tranquillity and prosperity of their country. It would 
be a great satisfaction for the Holy Father if these sentiments and 
wishes were communicated to His Excellency, the President, and 
all influential persons in the Mexican Republic. 



Peace depends not only on statesmen but also upon 
the people who must have a profound sense of justice 
and chanty. 

May 25, 1914 

271. ... And yet, thanks to God's mercy, We are not without 
timely consolations. Such a consolation was the centenary celebra- 

20 Original Italian, Civilta Cattolica, 1914, v. 3, p. no. 

21 original Latin, A.A.S., v. 6, p. 254 (May 28, 1914)- 

I2 3 

[272-273] PIUS x 

tion last year of the peace and unhampered liberty secured for the 
Church, after so long a period of trials and tribulations, by the 
edict of Constantine the Great. During those months the continual 
demonstrations of filial devotion, so admirable and memorable, 
could not but greatly encourage Us; in them the Catholic world 
zealously strengthened its own faith and before troubled humanity 
held up the Cross of Christ as the only source of peace and salvation. 

272. To-day more than ever they seek for peace, and indeed 
we see classes of citizens, races, nations fighting among themselves, 
and from the enmities ever becoming more intense among them 
we see break out sudden fearful wars. True, there are clever and 
distinguished statesmen who put before themselves the good of 
nations and indeed of human society, and seek by common agree- 
ment for the means of arresting the harm that comes from the 
strife of classes and the slaughters of war, and of securing within 
and without their borders the benefits of peace. These, without 
doubt, are excellent endeavors, but their counsels will bear little 
fruit, unless at the same time they can ensure that the precepts of 
justice and Christian charity are deeply rooted in souls. To-day 
peace or war in society and in the State do not depend so much 
on the governors as on the multitudes. Deprived of the light of 
truth revealed by God, unused to the discipline of the laws of 
Christ, what wonder if the multitudes, the prey of blind passions, 
rush to their common ruin, instigated by clever agitators who seek 
nothing but their own advantage? 




On the outbreaJ^ of the World War the Pope asT^s all 
Catholics to pray for peace. 

August 2, 1914 

273. While nearly all Europe is being dragged into the whirl- 
pool of a most deadly war, of whose dangers, bloodshed and conse- 
quences no one can think without feeling oppressed with sorrow 
and alarm, We, too, cannot but be anxious and feel Our soul rent 

22 Translation from Schaefer, A Papal Peace Mosaic, pp. 16-17. Original F.atin, A.A.S 
v - 6, p. 373 (August 3, 1914). 


by the most bitter grief for the safety and for the lives of so many 
citizens and so many peoples for whose welfare We are supremely 

274. Amid this tremendous upheaval and danger We deeply 
feel and realize that Our fatherly charity and Our Apostolic Minis- 
try demand of Us that We direct men's minds upward to Him 
from Whom alone help can come, to Christ, the Prince of Peace, and 
man's all-powerful Mediator with God. Therefore, We do exhort 
the Catholics of the whole world to turn, full of confidence, to His 
throne of grace and mercy, and let the clergy lead the way by their 
example and by appointing special prayers in their respective 
parishes, under the orders of the bishops, that God may be moved 
to pity and may remove as soon as possible the disastrous torch 
of war and inspire the supreme rulers of the nations with thoughts 
of peace and not of affliction. 






THE OUTBREAK o the World War in 1914, involving millions 
of Catholics on both sides of the conflict, created an extremely 
delicate position for the Vicar of Christ, the Common Father 
of all. Under such circumstances, it was indeed fortunate that the 
saintly Pius X was succeeded by Giacomo Cardinal della Chiesa, 
Archbishop of Bologna, a veteran diplomat, keenly aware of the 
difficulties of his position. 

The background of Benedict XV bears many resemblances to 
that of Lee XIIL Born in Genoa on November 21, 1854, della 
Chiesa was the son of a marquis, and it was at the suggestion of 
his father that he took up the study of law, obtaining the doctorate 
at the Royal University in 1875. Turning toward the priesthood, 
he enrolled at the Capranica College and the Gregorian University 
in Rome, and was ordained in 1878. After finishing his training 
for a diplomatic career at the Pontificia Accademia dei Nobili 
Ecclesiastici, in 1883 he was selected to go to Madrid as personal 
secretary to the newly-appointed Nuncio to Spain, Monsignor Ram- 
polla. In 1887, when Leo XIII recalled Rampolla to make him 
Secretary of State, della Chiesa returned to Rome to work in the 
secretariate. After serving as Under-Secretary of State from 1901, 


he was appointed Archbishop of Bologna on December 16, 1907. He 
was created cardinal in May, 1914, and less than four months after- 
ward was elected pope. 

A tiny figure of unprepossessing appearance, Benedict XV had 
few consolations during the eight years of his pontificate; yet his 
dignity, his courage and firmness, in the face of bitter criticism 
and suspicion, won the tardy admiration of the world. Two prin- 
ciples of action guided him throughout the four years of the war: 
to maintain strict neutrality toward both belligerents and to pro- 
mote peace by every available means. Assisted by an unusually 
gifted Secretary of State, Cardinal Gasparri, he explored every 
avenue for bringing about an early cessation of hostilities. Encour- 
aged by the friendly reception given to his legate, Monsignor Pacelli, 
by the German Emperor, Benedict offered both Powers a basis 
for opening peace negotiations in 1917, but it was rejected. 

Through the co-operation of neutral Switzerland, Benedict was 
instrumental in exchanging countless war prisoners on both sides 
and helped to promote better hospitalization for the wounded. 
Through his intercession, bereaved families of missing soldiers re- 
ceived definite information about the fate of their relatives. 

After the war, the pope was excluded from participating in the 
peace settlement due to the Treaty of London, a secret arrangement 
made by Italy with Great Britain, France and Russia before Italy 
entered the struggle in 1915. 

During Benedict's reign, diplomatic relations were renewed with 
France, and initiated with England, Holland, Finland, Poland, 
Czechoslovakia and Latvia. 

An attack of influenza resulted in his death on January 22, 1922, 
and very soon he was completely forgotten. It is one of the ironies 
of history that it has taken another World War to reveal Benedict's 
accomplishments in their true historical perspective. 






The Sovereign Pontiff is determined to neglect nothing 
to hasten the end of the war. 

September 8, 1914 

275. . . . But when We look from the height of this Apostolic 
See toward the Lord's flock committed to Our care, We are filled 
with horror and inexpressible grief by the sight of this war through 
which so great a part of Europe is reddened with Christian blood, 
devastated by fire and sword. From the Good Shepherd, Jesus 
Christ, Whose place We hold in the government of the Church, 
We have this very duty, that We embrace with the bowels of 
paternal love all the lambs and sheep of His flock. Inasmuch, 
then, as from the example of the Lord Himself, We must be 
as indeed We are ready to give even Our life itself for their 
salvation, We are firmly and deliberately determined to leave 
nothing that is in Our power undone to hasten the end of so great 
a calamity. Now, therefore even before We address Encyclical 
Letters to all the bishops, as is the established custom of the Roman 
Pontiffs at the beginning of their Apostolate We" cannot refrain 
from repeating the last words of Our most saintly Predecessor, 
Pius X, worthy of immortal memory, spoken on his death-bed at the 
first thunder of war, out of his Apostolic solicitude and love of the 
human race. Wherefore, while We Ourselves will be suppliant 
before God with eyes and hands raised to Heaven, We exhort and 
pray all children of the Church, particularly those in Holy Orders, 
as Our Predecessor exhorted and urged them, that they insistently, 
in all ways possible, whether privately in humble prayer or publicly 
with solemn supplications, implore God, the Arbiter and Sovereign 
Master of all things, that mindful of His pity He may put away 
this scourge of His wrath with which He exacts of the people 

1 Translation from The Tablet, v. 124, pp. 435-436 (October 3, 1914). Original Latin, 
A.A.S., v. 6, pp. 501-502 (September 17, 1914). 



penance for their sins. And may you be assisted and protected 
in your common prayers by the Virgin Mother of God whose most 
blessed Nativity, celebrated this very day, has shone out like a 
dawn-light of peace on an afflicted world the Virgin who was to 
give birth to Him in Whom the Eternal Father willed to reconcile 
all things, making peace through the blood of His cross, both as 
to the things on earth and the things that are in heaven? 

276. But We urgently implore and conjure those who rule the 
affairs of peoples, that they now turn their minds to forget all 
their own discords for the sake of the salvation of human society; 
that they consider that already there is enough misery and trouble 
in the life of men, that it should not be rendered for a long time 
more miserable and troubled; that they be satisfied with the ruin 
wrought, the human blood already shed; that they initiate councils 
of peace and reconcile themselves; for thus will they truly deserve 
well of God and of their own peoples, and will be benefactors of 
the civil society of the nations. And for Us who see grave troubles 
in the terrible disorganization of all things at this the very begin- 
ning of Our Apostolic Office, let them know that they will be doing 
a thing most pleasing to Us and one which from all Our heart 
We desire. 

LETTER C'Est avec un Interet TO CARDINAL LuON, ARCH- 

The Pope laments the spiritual and material damages 
of the war. 

October 16, 1914 

277. ... If it is a deep sorrow for Us that We have from the 
beginning of Our Pontificate had to witness the sad events of the 
present time, it is equally distressing to Us to have heard from you 
a sorrowful echo, and to have to write to you for the first time in 
circumstances and for reasons so little comforting. We have not 
failed to follow with special attention the news of the grave events 
of which Rheims, your episcopal see, has lately been* the scene. 
We are grateful to you for having given Us a detailed account of 

2 Colossians, I, 20. 

3 Translation from The Tablet, v. 124, p. 724 (November 28, 1914). Original French, 

A.A.S., v. 6, p. 541 (November 9, 1914). 


[278-279] BENEDICT XV 

the facts set forth in all their exactitude. Be assured of the part We 
take in the deep sorrow caused you by the sight of so many evils, 
and by the thought of the dire consequences of the war from the 
point of view of religion and art, and also from the material point 
of view to your sorely tried diocese. . . . 


The Holy Father is gratified to learn that French 
priests, prisoners of war, will be treated as officers? 

October 18, 1914 

278. We have received from you the very welcome news that 
His Majesty, the German Emperor, acceding to your request, has 
determined that all French priests among the French soldiers now 
held as prisoners of war in Germany shall be treated strictly as 
officers. In this bitter time, when We see nearly all Europe laid 
waste by fire and sword and reddened with the blood of Christians, 
and when the terrible spectacle of this whole war fills Our mind 
with an indescribable sickness of heart, the news which you have 
recently given Us has afforded Us great consolation. For from this 
news We have seen with what zealous love your heart is enkindled 
towards those who are bound to you by the bond of the priesthood. 

279. This, too, is Our firm conviction, that your great charity 
will embrace not only French clerics who are captives, but, so far 
as can be, all others, without distinction of religion or nationality, 
who are detained within your boundaries, and those especially who 
are afflicted with sickness or wounds, in order that their sufferings 
and ills may be alleviated and that provision may be made for their 
spiritual welfare. The duty of such charity, as is clearly evident, is 
common to all men; in a special way, however, is that duty incum- 
bent upon the ministers of God and all other religious persons. 
Wherefore, We are confident that all indeed who glory in the name 
of Christian, particularly, however, Catholic bishops and priests, 
will imitate your shining example not in Germany only but in 
all other regions also where refugees, captives, and especially sick 
and wounded men are consumed with grief. . . . 

4 Original Latin, A.A.S., v. 6, p. 542 (November 9, 1914). 

5 Priests were drafted into the French army as common soldiers. 


AD BEATISSIMI [280-281 ] 


The bloody conflict produces deep sorrow in the heart 
of the Common Father of all nations. He analyzes the 
basic causes of the war and issues an earnest appeal for 

November i, 1914 

280 As soon, therefore, as We had looked, from the 

height of the Apostolic dignity, upon the direction in which human 
affairs were going, and had seen the lamentable state of civil society, 
We were filled with bitter sorrow. For how could it be that We, 
the Common Father of all, should not be pierced to the heart by the 
spectacle of Europe and the world a spectacle perhaps the darkest 
and saddest in all human history ? It seems as if the days foretold 
by Christ had indeed come: You shall hear of wars and rumors of 
wars. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against 
fyngdom. 7 The dread image of war overshadows the world, and 
absorbs nearly every thought. The strongest and wealthiest nations 
are in conflict. What wonder, then, that, furnished as they are with 
the latest weapons devised by military science, their struggle is 
causing enormous slaughter. There is no end to the ruin, no end 
to the deaths; each day sees the earth flowing with fresh blood, 
and covered with dead and wounded. Who would think that the 
nations, thus armed against each other, are all descended from one 
ancestor, share the same nature, belong to the same human family ? 
Who could realize that they are brethren, children of the same 
Father in heaven? And while the mighty hosts are contending in 
the fury of combat, cities, families, individuals are being oppressed 
by those evils and miseries which follow at the heels of war; day 
by day the numbers increase of widows and orphans; the paths 
of commerce are blocked; the fields are left untilled; the arts are 
at a standstill; the rich are made poor, the poor still more destitute, 
all are made to mourn. 

281. Shocked by so great evils, We have held it to be Our 
duty, at the very beginning of Our Supreme Pontificate, and as the 
first act of Our Apostolic Ministry, to take up and repeat the last 

6 Official English version, A.A.S., v. 6, pp. 647-660 (November 25, 1914). Official 

Latin version, A.A.S., v. 6, pp. 565-581 (November 18, 1914)- 

7 Matthew, XXIV, 6-7. 


words that fell from the lips of Our Predecessor a Pontiff of 
illustrious and so holy memory; and, therefore, We earnestly be- 
seech princes and rulers that, moved by the sight of so many tears, 
so much blood already shed, they delay not to bring back to their 
peoples the life-giving blessings of peace. When the divine Re- 
deemer first appeared upon earth, the glad tidings were sung by 
angels' voice, so now, may God in His mercy grant that, at the 
beginning of Our labor as Christ's Vicar, the same voice be heard 
proclaiming: Peace on earth to men of good will? We beg of those 
who hold in their hands the destinies of peoples, to give heed to 
that voice. If their rights have been violated, they can certainly 
find other ways and other means of obtaining a remedy; to these, 
laying aside the weapons of war, let them have recourse in sincerity 
of conscience, and good will. With no view to Our own self- 
interest do We speak thus, but in charity toward them and toward 
all nations. Let them not suffer Our voice of father and friend to 
pass away unheeded. 

282. But it is not only the murderous struggle now going on 
that is ruining the nations, and filling Us with anxious alarm. 
There is another dreadful evil, which goes deep down in modern 
society, an evil that inspires fear in the minds of thoughtful men, 
because while it has already caused, and is threatening still to cause 
immense mischief to nations, it must also be recognized as the true 
source of the present deplorable conflict. Truly, as soon as the rules 
and dictates of Christian wisdom, which are the assured basis of 
stability and peace, came to be disregarded in the ordering of public 
life, the very structure of the State began to be shaken to its fall; 
and there has also ensued so great a change of thought and con- 
duct, that, unless God comes to the rescue, the dissolution of human 
society itself would seem to be at hand. The more prominent 
disorders are these: the lack of mutual love among men; disregard 
for authority; unjust quarrels between the various classes; material 
prosperity become the absorbing object of human endeavor, as 
though there were nothing higher and better to be gained. These 
We regard as the four chief causes why the world is so terribly 
shaken. We must labor earnestly, therefore, by putting in prac- 
tice Christian principles, to remove such disorders from our midst, 
if indeed we have at heart the common peace and welfare. 

n, 14. 



283. When Jesus Christ came from heaven for the very purpose 
of restoring the Kingdom of Peace, which had been ruined by the 
envy of Satan, He chose no other foundation for it than that of 
brotherly love. Hence those words of His so often repeated: A new 
commandment I give unto you, that you love one another? This 
is my commandment, that you love one another ;^ These things 1 
command you, that you love one another;^ as though the whole 
scope and purpose of His coming were to make men love each 
other. To stimulate us to this love, what motives has He not set 
before us? He bids us to lift up our eyes to heaven: For one is 
your Father, Who is in heaven}- 2 Setting aside every difference 
of race, of language and of interest, He puts the selfsame prayer 
on the lips of all: Our Father Who art in heaven;^ He even 
teaches that the heavenly Father in bestowing nature's gifts, is not 
swayed by our deserving: Who ma^eth His sun to rise upon the 
good and bad, and raineth upon the just and the unjust^ He 
further declares that we are all brethren: But all you are brethren;^ 
and brethren of Himself: That he might be the -first-born amongst 
many brethren^ Then, what ought most powerfully to urge us to 
brotherly love, even towards those whom our natural pride would 
lead us to despise, He went so far as to identify Himself with 
the meanest of men, in whom He wished us to recognize His own 
personal dignity: As long as you did it to one of these My least 
brethren, you did it to Me. 17 What more? At the close of His life, 
He earnestly besought of the Father, that all who should believe 
in Him might be made one by the bond of charity: As Thou 
Father in Me and I in Thee. 18 Lastly, when hanging on the Cross, 
He poured out His blood upon us all, so that, as if compacted and 
joined together in one body, mutual love should be found amongst 
us, just as mutual sympathy is found amongst the members of the 
same body. 

9 John, XIII, 34. 

10 John. XV, 12. 

11 John, XV, 17. 

12 Matthew, XXIII, 9. 

13 Matthew, VI, 9. 
^Matthew, V, 45. 

15 Matthew, XXIII, 8. 
^Romans, VIII, 29. 
17 Matthew, XXV, 40. 


[284-287] BENEDICT XV 

284. But in these times the conduct of men is far different. 
Never perhaps was human brotherhood more preached than now; 
nay, it is pretended that, without any help from the teaching of 
the Gospel, or from the work of Christ and the Church, the spirit 
of brotherhood has been one of the highest creations of modern 
civilization. Yet the truth is, that men never acted towards each 
other in less brotherly fashion than now. Race hatreds are becom- 
ing almost a frenzy; nation is divided from nation more by enmity 
and jealousy than by geographical position; in the same city, within 
the same walls, the different ranks are on fire with mutual envy; 
all take as their supreme law their own self-interest. 

285. You see, Venerable Brethren, how necessary it is that no 
effort should be spared to bring back among men the power of the 
charity of Christ. This shall be Our constant endeavor, the chosen 
task of Our Pontificate; to this We exhort you to attend. Let us 
not grow weary of teaching and practicing the injunction of the 
Apostle, St. John: That we love one another^ Doubtless there are 
numerous benevolent institutions now doing useful and valuable 
work, but they do not prove to be of real benefit, unless they help in 
promoting a true love of God and our neighbor; without this they 
are worth nothing, for: He that loveth not, abideth in death. 20 

286. We have said that another cause of social disorder lies in 
this, that authority is generally disregarded. For as soon as human 
authority began to emancipate itself from God, the Creator and 
Master of the universe, and to seek its origin in man's free choice, 
the bonds between superiors and subjects were relaxed so that now 
they would almost seem not to exist. An unbridled spirit of inde- 
pendence, joined with pride, has gradually permeated everywhere, 
not sparing even the family, where nature itself discloses authority 
in the clearest light; what is more to be deplored, the evil has even 
reached the sanctuary. Hence, the contempt for law; hence, the 
insubordination of the masses; hence, the petulant criticism of the 
commands of authority; hence, the continual attempts to break 
its power; hence, the monstrous deeds of those who, making pro- 
fession of anarchy, have no respect either for the property or the 
lives of others. 

287. In the presence of this perversity of thought and deed a 

19 1 John, III, 23. 
20 1 1ohn,lll, 14. 


AD BEATISSIMI [288-289] 

perversity destructive of all human society We, to whom has been 
committed the guardianship of divine Truth, cannot be silent; and 
We admonish all of that doctrine which cannot be changed by 
man's will: There is no -power but from God; and those that are, 
are ordained of God. 21 All power, therefore, whether of the sov- 
ereign or of subordinate authorities, comes from God. Wherefore 
St. Paul teaches the duty of obeying, not in any way, but for con- 
science' sake, those who have the rule over us, except when what 
is commanded is against the law of God: Wherefore be subject of 
necessity, not only for wrath, but also for conscience safe. 22 In 
agreement with this are the words of the Prince of the Apostles: 
Be ye subject, therefore, to every human creature for God's safe: 
whether it be to the king as excelling, or to governors as sent by 
Him? z From this doctrine the same Apostle of the Gentiles draws 
the conclusion, that whoever is a rebel against lawful human au- 
thority, is a rebel against God, and prepares for himself eternal 
punishment: Therefore, he that resisteth the power, resisteth the 
ordinance of God. And they that resist, purchase to themselves 
damnation 24 " 

288. Let princes and rulers of the peoples bear this in mind 
and bethink themselves whether it be wise and salutary that public 
authority should divorce itself from the holy Religion of Jesus Christ, 
in which it may find so powerful a support. Let them seriously 
consider whether it be politically wise to banish from public in- 
struction the teaching of the Gospel and of the Church. Experi- 
ence teaches only too well that where religion is absent public 
authority falls. It generally happens to States as it happened to our 
first parent after his failure in his duty to God. As in him, scarcely 
had the will been rebel to God when the passions broke loose and 
rebelled against the will; so, too, whenever those who have the 
rule over peoples disdain the authority of God, the peoples in their 
turn are prompt to hold lightly the authority of man. Certainly 
there remains the usual expedient of suppressing rebellion by 
violence; but where is the gain? Violence may subdue the body, 
it cannot conquer the will. 

289. The double element of cohesion in the body social, that is, 

'^Romans, XIII, I. 
22 Romans, XIII, 5, 
^ I Peter, II, 13-14. 
24 Romans, XIII, 2. 


[290-291] BENEDICT XV 

the union of the members among themselves by mutual charity, 
and the union of the members with the head by obedience to 
authority, being thus destroyed or weakened, what wonder, Vener- 
able Brethren, that modern society should show itself as divided 
into two opposing forces struggling against each other fiercely, and 
without truce? Over against those who have happened to receive, 
or have industriously earned a certain amount of wealth, there are 
ranged a number of the indigent and of workers, inflamed with 
ill will, because, possessing the same human nature as those better 
off, they do not enjoy equal fortune. When once they have been 
deluded by the sophistries of demagogues, to whom they generally 
show themselves most submissive, who shall persuade them that, 
because men have equality of nature, it does not follow that they 
must have equality of rank in social life, but that each holds that 
position which, not frustrated by circumstances, he has gained 
for himself? When, therefore, the poor assail the rich, as though 
these had appropriated to themselves what belongs to others, they 
are acting not only against justice and charity, but even against 
reason, particularly because they themselves might better their own 
position by force of honorable labor. 

290. It would be superfluous to point out the consequences, dis- 
astrous alike to individuals and to the community, that flow from 
this class hatred. We all know and deplore those frequent strikes 
by which the whole of public life, even in its most necessary activ- 
ities, is suddenly checked; and then the riotous outbreaks in which 
recourse is frequently had to arms, and this followed by bloodshed. 

291. We will not now repeat the arguments that show the 
.untenableness of Socialism and similar errors. This has been done 
with supreme wisdom by Our Predecessor, Leo XIII, in his memo- 
rable Encyclicals; but We appeal to you, Venerable Brethren, to 
use your endeavors that that authoritative teaching be not forgotten; 
that by means of Catholic associations and congresses, of sermons 
and the Catholic Press, it be adequately explained and enforced, 
as circumstances may require. But, above all, and We do not hesi- 
tate to repeat it, let us make it our care, using every argument 
supplied by the Gospel, by reason and by public or private good, 
to stimulate all men to mutual brotherly love in accordance with 
the divine law of charity. This brotherly love does not set itself 
to sweep away all differences of rank and condition this is no 

AD BEATISSIMI [ 2 9 2 ' 2 93] 

more possible than it is possible in a living body that all the mem- 
bers should have the same place and function but it has power 
to make those of a higher rank act toward those of a lower, not 
only with justice, as is indeed imperative, but also with good- will, 
and kindness, and consideration; and it makes those of a lower 
rank to be glad at the prosperity of others, and to have confidence 
in their readiness to help; just as in the same family the younger 
trust to the care and protection of the elder. 

292. The evils We have just been deploring find their cause, 
Venerable Brethren, in a deeper root, and unless the good use their 
efforts to destroy it, We shall look in vain for the realization of 
Our desire for a solid and lasting peace among men. What that 
root is, the Apostle tells us: The desire of money is the root of all 
evils?** And to this root are indeed attributable all the evils now 
afflicting the world. When Godless schools, moulding as wax the 
tender hearts of the young, when an unscrupulous Press, continually 
playing upon the inexperienced minds of the multitude, when those 
other agencies that form public opinion, have succeeded in propagat- 
ing the deadly error that man ought not to look for a happy 
eternity; that it is only here that happiness is to be found, in the 
riches, the honors, the pleasures of this life; it is not surprising 
that men, with their inextinguishable desire of happiness, should 
attack what stands in the way of that happiness with all the im- 
pelling force of their desire. But since earthly goods are unequally 
divided, and since it is the office of the State to prevent individuals 
seizing at their own will what belongs to others, it has come about 
that hatred has been engendered against the public authority, that 
envy of the more fortunate has taken hold of the less fortunate, 
and that the different classes of fellow-citizens are in open an- 
tagonism those who have not, striving by every means to obtain, 
and the others, striving to keep what they have and to increase it. 

293. Foreseeing these things, Christ our Lord, in the divine 
Sermon on the Mount, thought it good to explain what are man's 
true beatitudes even here on earth, and so to lay the foundations, 
as it were, of Christian philosophy. Men far removed from the 
Faith have yet seen in this teaching a supreme wisdom, and the 
most perfect form of religious and moral doctrine; and indeed, all 
agree that before Christ, Who is Truth itself, no one ever spoke 

25 1 Timothy, VI, 10. 



of these things as He has spoken, with such dignity, such power, 
and so exalted a sentiment of love. 

294. Now the deep and underlying thought of this divine 
philosophy is that the good things of this life have only the appear- 
ance without the reality of good, and so cannot bestow true happi- 
ness. In the truth of God's word, riches and pleasure are so far 
from bringing true happiness, that to secure true happiness we must 
rather renounce these things for the love of God. Blessed are ye 
poor . . . Blessed are ye that weep now . . . Blessed shall you be 
when men shall hate you, and shall separate you, and shall reproach 
you. and cast out your name as evil? Q That is to say, if we bear 
patiently, as we ought, the sorrows, hardships and miseries of this 
life, we open for ourselves a way to the possession of those true and 
imperishable goods, which God hath prepared for those who love 
Him? 1 But this important teaching of the Faith is neglected by 
too many, and by not a few is altogether forgotten. It is for you, 
Venerable Brethren, to make this teaching live again amongst men; 
without it men and communities of men will never find peace. 
We urge, therefore, all who are suffering under any kind of hard- 
ship, not to keep their eyes fixed on earth, which is but a place of 
exile, but to lift them up to heaven, whither we are tending; for 
we have not here a lasting city, but we see/^ one that is to cornel 
In times of adversity, with which God tries the steadiness of their 
service, let them often reflect on the greatness of the reward when 
they have come victorious out of the struggle: For that which is 
at present momentary and light of our tribulation, worfyeth for us 
above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory. 2 Lastly, 
it should be one of your chief cares, Venerable Brethren, with all 
zeal and energy to make faith in the supernatural live again 
amongst men, and with faith the pursuit, the desire and the hope 
of what is eternal; for this work We ask the co-operation not only 
of the clergy, but of all those Catholics who, banded together in 
various societies, are laboring for God's honor and man's true good. 
The more this faith grows amongst men the more will the feverish 
pursuit of earthly vanities cease, and as charity grows strong, social 
conflicts and tumults will gradually die away. 

26 Lu^e, VI, 20-22. 
27 1 Corinthians, II, 9. 
28 Hebrews, XIII, 14. 
29 II Corinthians, IV, 17. 


AD BEATISSIMI [ 2 95' 2 97] 

295 And now. Venerable Brethren, at the close of 

this letter, Our mind goes back spontaneously to the thought of 
peace with which We began; We pray with unceasing prayer for 
the good of men and of the Church that this disastrous war may 
cease; for the good of men, so that by the bringing back of peace 
they may go forward on the path of true progress; for the good of 
Christ's Church, that it may be left unhindered to bear help and 
salvation to every part of the world. Too long has the Church been 
curtailed of its necessary freedom of action, ever since the Head 
of the Church, the Supreme Pontiff, began to lack that defense 
of his freedom which the Providence of God had raised up during 
the course of centuries. The loss of that protection has inevitably 
caused no light anxiety in the Catholic body; for all the children 
of the Roman Pontiff, whether near or living afar, have a right 
not to be left in doubt concerning the possession by their common 
Father of a true and undeniable freedom in the exercise of his 
Apostolic Ministry. 

296. While We pray for the speedy return of peace to the world, 
We also pray that an end be put to the abnormal state in which 
the Head of the Church is placed a 'state which in many ways is 
an impediment to the common tranquillity. Our Predecessors have 
protested, not from self-interest, but from a sense of sacred duty, 
against this state of things; those protests We renew, and for the 
same reason to protect the rights and dignity of the Apostolic See. 

297. It remains for us, Venerable Brethren, to lift up our voices 
in prayer to God, in Whose hands are the hearts of princes, and 
of all responsible for the continuance of the scourges now afflicting 
us, and to cry in the name of all mankind: Give peace, Lord, 
in our days. And may He, who said of Himself: I am the Lord . . . 
I ma\e peace, 30 be moved by our prayers, and speedily still the 
tempest now tossing civil and religious society. And may the 
Blessed Virgin be mercifully at hand to assist us she who bore 
the Prince of Peace; may she regard and protect with a mother's 
love Us in Our lowliness, Our Pontificate, the Church, and with 
the Church the souls of all men redeemed by the divine Blood of 
her Son. . . . 





The Pope exhorts Archbishop Dobrecic to care for the 
spiritual and material needs of the prisoners in his 

November 8, 1914 

298. Ever since We were raised to the Pontificate We have 
tried, according to the measure of Our forces, to bring about some 
alleviation of the troubles produced by this enormous war. With 
this aim We, as you know, recently sent to Our beloved son, 
Cardinal Felix von Hartmann, Archbishop of Cologne, a letter, 
in which We not only paid him a tribute of praise for having 
asked and obtained from the Emperor of Germany that the French 
priests made prisoners should be treated according to their dignity, 
but further warmly exhorted him to procure that all prisoners, 
without distinction of religion, nationality, or condition, and espe- 
cially the sick and wounded among them, should be treated accord- 
ing to all the dictates of chanty. And now We also wish that you 
do the same with all your strength, seeing that there opens before 
you, Venerable Brother, a field not dissimilar in which you may 
exercise your pity. Following, then, the charity of Christ, Who 
went about doing good and healing all? 2 exert yourself with all 
love to help those soldiers who are being held as prisoners of war 
near you, and especially those who, by reason of the wounds they 
have received, or their broken health, have the best claim on the 
greater part of your solicitude. We have, indeed, no doubt but 
that those at the head of affairs in your kingdom, following the 
law of nations and at the same time the voice of humanity, are 
disposed to treat with clemency and kindness those most unfortunate 
men, and when you, Venerable Brother, add your efforts to theirs, 
far better provision will be made for the grievous necessities of 
the case. In order that this desirable end may be achieved, and as 
a pledge of heavenly favors and a proof of Our affection, We impart 
the Apostolic Benediction to you, to your clergy and to your people. 

31 Translation from The Tablet, v, 124, p. 703 (November 21, 1914). Original Latin, 
A.A.S., v. 6, p. 546 (November 9, 1914). 
, 38. 




Negotiations for a truce on Christmas?^ 
November 26, 1914 

299. The Holy Father intends to ask the leaders of the belliger- 
ent States to suspend hostilities at least throughout the day of next 
December 25, the Feast of Christmas, as an act of faith and of 
Christian piety towards Our Lord Jesus Christ, come into the world 
to give glory to God and to bring peace to men. 

300. As is quite natural, before formulating such a demand, 
His Holiness is desirous of knowing just in what way such a 
proposal would be received by each and every one of the respective 
Governments. Consequently, with regard to your country, I would 
be grateful to Your Eminence if you would find out, by whatever 
confidential way your tact may suggest, if and to what extent the 
Government would be willing to accept this noble proposal of the 
Holy Father, with the understanding, of course, that it would be 
accepted by all the other States. . . . 



The compassion of the Holy Father for those suffering 
in Belgium. 

December 8, 1914 

301. The fatherly solicitude which We feel for all the faithful 
whom Divine Providence has entrusted to Our care, causes Us to 

33 Original French, U Opera della Santa Sede, p. 31. 

34 This was "a project that met with sympathy 'in principle' from Great Britain, Bel- 

gium and Germany, but refusal from France (for alleged military reasons) and 
from Russia (objecting the different date of the Orthodox Christmas and distrust 
of Germany)." Cited from Rope, Benedict XV, the Pope of Peace, p. 70. 
15 Translation from The Tablet, v. 125, p. 42 (January 9, 1915). Original Latin, 
A.A.S., v. 6, pp. 668-669 (December 9, 1914). Similar documents, not included in 
this book, concerning Belgium are: Letter of Cardinal Gasparri to the Apostolic 
Nuncio, December 10, 1914 (L 'Opera della Santa Sede, p. 198). Letter of Cardinal 
Gasparri to Countess Felice De Merode, June 7, 1915 (op.cit., p. 208). Letter of 
Cardinal Gasparri to the Apostolic Nuncio, August 17, 1915 (op. cit., p. 212). Let- 
ter of Cardinal Gasparri to the Belgian Minister, December 20, 1915 (op. cit., p. 
221). Letter of Cardinal Gasparri to the Duchess of Vendome, December 20, 1915 
(op. cit., p. 222). 


[302-304] BENEDICT XV 

share their griefs even more fully than their joys. Could We, then, 
fail to be moved by keenest sorrow at the sight of the Belgian 
nation, which We so dearly love, reduced by a most cruel and most 
disastrous war to this lamentable state. 

302. We behold the King and his august family, the members 
of the Government, the chief persons of the country, bishops, priests, 
and whole people enduring evils which must fill with pity all gentle 
hearts, and which Our own soul, in the fervor of parental love, 
must be the first to compassionate. Thus, under the burden of this 
distress and this mourning, We call in Our prayers for an end to 
such misfortunes. May the God of mercy hasten the day! Mean- 
while We strive to mitigate, as far as in Us lies, this excessive suffer- 
ing. Therefore, the step taken by Our dear son, Cardinal Hart- 
mann, Archbishop of Cologne, at whose request it was arranged 
that French or Belgian priests detained in Germany should have 
the treatment of officers, gave Us great satisfaction, and We have 
expressed Our thanks to him for his action. 

303. As regards Belgium, We have been informed that the faith- 
ful of that nation, so sorely tried, did not neglect, in their piety, to 
turn towards Us their thoughts, and that even under the blow of 
so many calamities they proposed to gather this year, as in all 
preceding years, the offerings of St. Peter, which supply the neces- 
sities of the Apostolic See. This truly incomparable proof of piety 
and of attachment filled Us with admiration; We accept it with all 
the affection that is due from a grateful heart; but having regard 
to the painful position in which Our dear children are placed, We 
cannot bring Ourselves to favor the fulfillment of that project, noble 
though it is. If any alms are to be gathered, Our wish is that the 
money should be entirely devoted to the succor of the Belgian 
people, who are as illustrious by reason of their nobility and their 
piety as they are today worthy of all sympathy. Amid the difficul- 
ties and anxieties of the present hour We would remind the sons 
who are so dear to Us that the Arm of God is not shortened, that 
He is ever able to save, that His Ear is not deaj to prayer? Q 

304. Let the hope of Divine aid increase with the approach of 
the festival of Christmas and of the mysteries that celebrate the 
birth of our Lord, and recall that peace which God proclaimed to 
mankind by His angels. May the souls of the suffering and afflicted 

**Isaiaf t UX, I. 



find comfort and consolation in the assurance of the paternal tender- 
ness that prompts Our prayers. Yes, may God take pity upon the 
Belgian people, and grant them the abundance of all good. As a 
pledge of these prayers and good wishes, We now grant to all, and 
in the first place to you, Our dear son, the Apostolic Benediction. 


The Bishops and the clergy are exhorted to care for 
the spiritual and material welfare of war prisoners in 
their countries. 

December 21, 1914 

305. Our Holy Father, Benedict XV, by Divine Providence 
Pope, sharing keenly in the trials of the unhappy and most numer- 
ous prisoners of war, and in the anxieties which weigh upon so 
many families left entirely without news of those dear to them, 
and desiring to render all the aid and comfort he possibly can to 
both classes, on the report of the Secretary of the S. Congrega- 
tion of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, confident that on the 
one hand, the episcopate and clergy will give generous and exact 
effect to his prescriptions, and that, on the other, the civil Govern- 
ments will render valid and efficacious co-operation to his humane 
and merciful undertaking, prescribes: 

(1) The Most Reverend Ordinaries of the dioceses in which the 
prisoners are shall designate immediately one or more priests, accord- 
ing to necessity, possessing a sufficient knowledge of the prisoners' 
languages, and should there be none such in their own dioceses, 
shall ask them of other Most Reverend Ordinaries, who shall 
solicitously hasten to supply them. 

(2) These priests shall with all zeal seek the spiritual and mate- 
rial welfare of the prisoners, doing everything in their power to 
comfort and assist them in the various and often painful necessities 
in which they are. 

(3) Especially, the priests shall ascertain whether the prisoners 
entrusted to their care have written or in some way sent news of 

87 Translation from Rome, v. 17, p. 162 (April 3, 1915). Original Latin, A.A.S., v. 6, 
pp. 710-711 (December 30, 1914). 


[306-307] BENEDICT XV 

themselves to their families, and if not shall persuade them to do 
so at once, at least by post cards. 

(4) When prisoners are unable, either through illiteracy, or sick- 
ness, or for* any other reason, to correspond in this way with their 
families, the priests themselves, shall charitably undertake to do so 
for them and in their name, and at the same time do what they 
can to ensure the safe delivery of the correspondence. 


In the spiritual and corporal care of prisoners, no dis- 
tinction of religion, nationality or language should be 

December 22, 1914 

306. The August Pontiff, Benedict XV, greatly afflicted by the 
evils caused everywhere by the present enormous war, has been 
graciously pleased to turn once more his benevolent and affectionate 
attention to the prisoners of war and, in his fatherly charity, to 
provide in some way for their spiritual and corporal welfare, issued 
yesterday through the S. Congregation of Extraordinary Ecclesi- 
astical Affairs a decree some copies of which I hasten to transmit 
to Your Eminence. 39 

307. I think it needless to add that in speaking of prisoners 
in the decree His Holiness wishes that no distinction be made 
either of religion, nationality or language, but if Your Eminence 
should deem it opportune, kindly, when transmitting the decree 
to the different bishops, make known to them the Holy Father's 
intention, so that the good work of the priests indicated in the 
decree may include all the unfortunate prisoners with the same 
embrace of the charity of Jesus Christ. . . . 

38 Translation from Rome, v. 16, p. 88 (December 26, 1914). Original Italian, Miiller, 

Das FriedenstverJ^ der Kirche, p. 428. 

39 A paragraph of the original Italian, which has no special importance, was not trans- 

lated by the editor of Rome. 




Despite many disappointments, Benedict XV will con- 
tinue to wor]^ for peace. 

December 24, 1914 

38 ....... We could not forget that We were come to con- 

tinue the work of Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace, described in the 
prophecies as He in Whose days should come at last the sun of 
justice and the abundance of peace. Remembering, then, Our more 
than human mission both in public and private, We left no way 
untried that the counsel, the desire, the necessity of peace should 
be fully recognized. It was indeed with this scope that there came 
to Our mind the proposal to pierce this darkness of warring death 
with at least a ray, one single ray, of the Divine sun of peace, and 
We thought of suggesting to the fighting nations a truce, short 
indeed and limited, for Christmas, nourishing the hope that while 
We could not dissipate the black gloom of war, it might be given 
Us at least to bring one healing balm to the wounds it inflicts. 
Ah, the dear hope that We had cherished of consoling so many 
mothers and so many wives with the certainty that in the few hours 
consecrated to the memory of the Divine Birthday their dear ones 
would not have fallen under the enemy's lead; ah, the dear illusion 
that We held of giving once more to the world at least a taste of 
that peaceful quiet which for so many months now it has not 
known! Our Christian initiative was not, however, crowned with 
happy success. Still, We are not discouraged by this, and We intend 
to put forth every effort to hasten the end of the unparalleled 
scourge, or at least to alleviate its miserable consequences. 

309. It seems to Us that the Divine Spirit says to Us as once 
to the Prophet: Clama ne cesses,^ Clama ne cesses, and We have 
cried, not without hope of success, for the exchange of prisoners 
rendered unfit for further military service. Clama ne cesses, and 
We have asked that to the poor prisoners of war should be given 
priests who know their language, to bring them those comforts 
of which they have need, and at the same time offer themselves 
as willing intermediaries between them and their families who 

40 Translation from Schaefer, A Papal Peace Mosaic, pp. 19-20. Original Italian, A.A.S., 
v. 6, pp. 695-696 (December 30, 1914)- 
s, LVIII, i. 


[310-311] BENEDICT XV 

might be worn out and afflicted by lack of news. Clama ne cesses, 
and We praise the reverend pastors and single individuals who have 
determined to promote or multiply public or private prayers to do 
sweet violence to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus to obtain that 
an end may come to the terrible scourge which now grips and 
throttles such a great part of the world. 

310. Ah! may the fratricidal weapons fall to the ground! Al- 
ready they are too bloodstained: let them at last fall! And may 
the hands of those who have had to wield them return to the labors 
of industry and commerce, to the works of civilization and peace. 
Ah! may at least today the rulers and the peoples hear the angelic 
voice which announces the superhuman gift of the King Who is 
born, "the Gift of Peace," and themselves too, by works of justice, 
faith and clemency show that "Good Will" which is laid down by 
God as the condition for the enjoyment of the peace 


The Holy See remains officially neutral in regard to 
the war. 

December 24, 1914 

311. I have received the letter which Your Eminence has done 
me the honor to send me on November 10, and I hastened to 
present it to the Holy Father. The Sovereign Pontiff also could 
not help feeling the same unpleasant impression on reading the 
second part of this missive, and he charges me to make known to 
you the pain it has caused him. Your Eminence is not unaware 
that from the beginning of the present war the Holy See, embrac- 
ing with the same solicitude the pastors and the faithful of the 
Universal Church, set itself to observe, and has constantly observed, 
the strictest and most absolute impartiality towards the different 
belligerent nations, and has peremptorily enjoined it on the Catholic 
Press, and especially that of Rome. I can assure you that this 
direction and these counsels of the Holy See, both by the Osserva- 
tore Romano, which is immediately under its direction, and by 

43 Translation from The Tablet, v. 125, p. 20 (January 2, 1915). We have been unable 
to locate the original of this letter. 



the Corriere d f Italia, the principal organ of the Societa Editrice, 
have been scrupulously followed. Meanwhile, we are ready to com- 
municate to Your Eminence all the documents you may desire 
proving this affirmation. Your Eminence will dispense me from 
citing the provincial papers which escape the immediate super- 
intendence of the Holy See, and the responsibility for which can 
in no way be attributed to it. But with regard to these, too, I can 
assure you that they have not failed to abide by the above-men- 
tioned directions, especially after some few instances in which they 
have been reminded of their duty. As for the assertion that prelates 
in Rome have not paid heed to the recommendations of the Holy 
See, this is not in harmony with the truth, and it would be very 
difficult for Your Eminence to give us the name of a single prelate 
who has published anything hostile to France. But we know the 
source of the calumnies which are diffused in France, and to which, 
it is painful to have to admit, too much faith is given even by 
Catholics themselves. His Holiness earnestly desires Your Eminence 
to give the widest possible publicity to this letter in. order to en- 
lighten and instruct the public mind and Catholic opinion, and to 
dissipate the calumnies and biased news which have been circulated 
in the past, or may be circulated in the future, as to the attitude 
of the Holy See in the present grave contingencies. 


The Pope asf(s the sovereigns of the belligerent na- 
tions to exchange war prisoners incapable of further 
military service. 

December 31, 1914 

312. Confident in the feelings of Christian charity which ani- 
mate Your Majesty, We pray that it may please Your Majesty to 

43 Original French, L'Opera della Santa Sede, p. 42. Similar appeals for exchange of 
prisoners incapable of military service, not included in this volume, are: Telegram 
of Benedict XV to Mohammed V, Emperor of Turkey, December 31, 1914 
(L'Opera della Santa Sede, p. 45). Telegram of Benedict XV to Nicholas I, King 
of Montenegro, January i, 1915 (op. tit., p. 46). Telegram of Benedict XV to 
M. Raymond Poincare, President of France, January 4, 1915 (op. cit., p. 46). Tele- 
gram of Benedict XV to Yoshihito, Emperor of Japan, January 9, 1915 (op.cit., 
p. 47). Letter of Cardinal Gasparri, Secretary of State, to the Ambassador of 
Austria-Hungary; December 21, 1914 (op. cit., p. 48). 


[3 I 3'3 I 4] BENEDICT XV 

close this fatal year and to begin well the new by an act of sovereign 
generosity, in receiving Our proposal that the belligerent nations 
exchange prisoners incapable of further military service. 


The Holy Father composes a special prayer for peace. 
January 10, 1915 

313. His Holiness, our sovereign Lord, Pope Benedict XV, in 
deep affliction at the sight of a war which destroys thousands of 
young lives, brings misery to families and cities, and rushes flourish- 
ing nations to the brink of ruin, yet bearing in mind that Almighty 
God, Whose prerogative it is to heal by chastisement and through 
pardon to preserve, is moved by the prayers which spring from 
contrite and humble hearts, desires ardently that above the clang 
of arms may be heard the voice of Faith, Hope and Charity, alone 
capable of welding together the hearts of men in one mind and 
one spirit. Therefore, while he exhorts the clergy and the faithful 
of the whole world to works of mortification and piety in ex- 
piation for the sins by which we have called down upon ourselves 
the just wrath of God, the Holy Father has ordained that through- 
out the Catholic Church solemn prayers shall be offered in order 
to obtain from the mercy of Almighty God the peace which all 

314. The Special Prayer Ordered by the Pope Is as Follows: 

Dismayed, by the horrors of a war which is bringing ruin to 
peoples and nations, we turn, O Jesus, to Thy most loving Heart 
as to our last hope. O God of Mercy, with tears we invoke Thee 
to end this fearful scourge; O King of Peace, we humbly implore 
the peace for which we long. From Thy Sacred Heart, Thou 
didst shed forth over the world divine Charity, so that discord 
might end and love alone might reign among men. During Thy 
life on earth Thy Heart beat with tender compassion for the 
sorrows of men; in this hour made terrible with burning hate, with 

^Authentic English version, A.A.S., v. 7, pp. 12-14 (January 15, 1915). Qrigina.1 
Italian, A.A.S., v. 7, pp. 8-10 (January 15, 1915). 



bloodshed and with slaughter, once more may Thy Divine Heart 
be moved to pity. Pity the countless mothers in anguish for the 
fate of their sons; pity the numberless families now bereaved of 
their fathers; pity Europe over which broods such havoc and dis- 
aster. Do Thou inspire rulers and peoples with counsels of meek- 
ness; do Thou heal the discords that tear the nations asunder; Thou 
Who didst shed Thy Precious Blood that they might live as brothers, 
bring men together once more in loving harmony. And as once 
before to the cry of the Apostle, Peter: Save us, Lord, we perish, 4 * 
Thou didst answer with words of mercy and didst still the raging 
waves, so now deign to hear our trustful prayer, and give back to 
the world peace and tranquillity. And do thou, O most holy Virgin, 
as in other times of sore distress, be now our help, our protection 
and our safeguard. Amen. 


The Pope requests all belligerent nations to free cap- 
tured civilians unfit for military service. 

January 11, 1915 

315. The undersigned Cardinal Secretary of State has the honor 
of informing His Excellency . . . that the Holy See, recognizing 

45 Matthew, VIII, 25. 

46 Original French, L 'Opera della Santa Sede, p. 50. Similar documents, not -included 

in this book, concerning exchange of civilians between the belligerents are: Letter 
of Cardinal Gasparri to the Minister of England, January 13, 1915 (U Opera della 
Santa Sede, p. 52). Letter of Cardinal Gasparri to the Minister of Russia, February 
1 8, 1915 (op. tit., p. 56). Letter of Cardinal Gasparri to the Minister of Prussia, 
February 22, 1915 (op. tit., p. 57). Letter of Cardinal Gasparri to the Minister of 
Prussia, March 2, 1915 (op. tit., p. 58). Letter of Cardinal Gasparri to the Minister 
of England, March 2, 1915 (op. cit., p. 59). Letter of Cardinal Gasparri to the 
Minister of England, March 6, 1915 (op. tit., p. 60). Letter of Cardinal Gasparri 
to the Minister of England, May i, 1915 (op. tit., p. 61). Letter of Cardinal Gas- 
parri to the Minister of Prussia, May 6, 1915 (op. tit., p. 62). Letter of Cardinal 
Gasparri to the Minister of England, May 30, 1915 (op. tit., pp. 64-65). Letter of 
Cardinal Gasparri to the Minister of Prussia, July 3, 1915 (op. tit., p. 65). Tele- 
gram of Cardinal Gasparri to the Minister of Prussia, August 9, 1915 (op. tit., 
p. 69). Letter of Cardinal Gasparri to the Minister of Prussia, August 25, 1915 
(op. tit., pp. 70-71). There are many similar documents given in the book, 
L 'Opera della Santa Sede, but these few will suffice to illustrate the indefatigable 
activity of the Vatican regarding the exchange of civilians. 



the favorable reception given to its first proposal in favor of mili- 
tary prisoners, is confident that the benevolence of the sovereigns 
and the chiefs of State will wish to extend it equally to detained 
civilians. To this end, the Holy See asks each and every belligerent 
nation to grant the following categories of interned civilians free- 
dom to return to their own country, save a few exceptions which 
each Government may believe necessary: 

(1) All women and young girls. 

(2) All children and young people under the age of seven- 
teen years. 

(3) All adults over the age of fifty-five years. 

(4) All adults who have not passed the age of fifty-five years 
but who are: 

a) doctors or surgeons, 

b) priests, 

c) known to be unfit for military service either through 
sickness or for any other reason. 


Benedict XV wishes the American Catholic Press to 
co-operate in promoting a Christian peace. 

January 18, 1915 

316. There will still be vividly fresh in the soul of Your Rever- 
ence the sweet impression, produced by the sovereign benevolence, 
with which the Holy Father, a few days ago, vouchsafed to receive 
you in private audience and to accede to the desire manifested by 
you for a few encouraging words for the Catholic Press of the 
United States at the opening of the new year. 

317. This greeting, which Your Reverence has had the singular 
good fortune to hear from the very lips of the August Pontiff and 
which I, by the venerable charge entrusted to me by His Holiness, 

47 Translation from Rome, v. 17, pp. 43-44' (January 23, 1915). We have been unable 
to locate the original of this document. Rev. Joseph Thomas Roche, a priest of the 
Rockford, 111. (U.S.A.) diocese, was the correspondent of several Catholic journals 
in this country. Knowing that the Catholic Press of the United States heartily sec- 
onded the peace efforts of Benedict XV, he asked the Pope to give the Catholic 
Press a few words of encouragement at the beginning of the new year. This letter, 
written by Cardinal Gasparri, was the answer to his request, 


CONVOCARE VOS [318-321] 

have today the pleasure of presenting to you, may be summarized 
in the expression of those sentiments of charity and peace, of which 
Benedict XV, faithful to his Apostolic mission, has made me the 

318. Father of all the faithful, supreme and loving head of all 
mankind, the Pontiff deplores the misfortunes wrought by this 
fearful struggle and, not being able to quench at once the fire which 
is devouring the blinded brethren, feels in his heart all the pain of 
the orphans, the widows, the mothers, the families made desolate; 
he hears the lamentations of the prisoners, the groans of the 
wounded and he, first of all, bears on his shoulders the. sorrows 
of the whole human race. 

319. But all this tribulation, far from discouraging, stimulates 
and renders fruitful the charitable action of the August Pontiff, 
who does not cease to try in every way to bring comfort to the 

320. And if on this earth so many difficulties oppose themselves 
to the work of the Angel of Charity, he raises suppliant hands to 
heaven and he earnestly desires that the eyes of all the faithful be 
turned to heaven, praying that the God of Mercy, the Prince 
of Peace, may renew in men's hearts the sentiments of fraternal 
charity and inspire in rulers an efficacious desire for peace. 


The Pope is disappointed at the prolongation of the 
war. He scores every violation of justice and condemns 
all unnecessary violence. 

January 22, 1915 

321. But at the outset, Venerable Brethren, in seeing 

you assembled here who by the special bond which unites you to Us 
have so close a part in Our thoughts and solicitudes, We cannot 
refrain from again telling you of the anguish which, as you know, 
weighs so heavily upon Our heart. Alas, month follows month 
without a gleam of even a distant hope that we shall soon see the 
end of this fatal war, this awful massacre. If We have not been able 

48 Translation from The Tablet, v. 125, pp. 156-157 (January 30, 1915)- Original 
Latin, A.A.S., v. 7, pp. 33-36 (January 22, 1915). ' 

[322-325] BENEDICT XV 

to hasten the end of this dreadful scourge, We have at least been 
able to alleviate its deplorable consequences. We have, as you are 
aware, done all that was in Our power up till now, and We shall 
not fail to use Our efforts in the future as long as it may be necessary. 

322. To do more to-day is not in the power given Us by Our 
Apostolic charge. To proclaim that for no reason is it allowable 
to injure justice is assuredly a duty that belongs to the Sovereign 
Pontiff, who is the divinely authorized supreme interpreter of the 
eternal law. And that We proclaim without waste of words, de- 
nouncing all injustice on whatever side it has been committed. 
But it would be neither proper nor useful to entangle the pontifical 
authority in the disputes between the belligerents. 

323. It is, for every thinking man, abundantly clear that in this 
frightful conflict the Holy See, whilst unceasingly watching it with 
the closest attention, must preserve the most absolute neutrality. 
The Roman Pontiff, as, on the one hand, the Vicar of Jesus Christ 
Who died for all and each, and on the other, as the Common 
Father of Catholics, must embrace all the combatants in the same 
sentiment of charity. He has on both the belligerent sides a great 
number of sons for whose salvation he must have an equal solicitude. 
He must accordingly consider not the special interests which divide 
them, but the common bond of faith that makes them brothers. 
Any other attitude on his part not 'only would not assist the cause 
of peace, but would, what is worse, create a lack of sympathy with 
and hatred against religion and expose the tranquillity and internal 
concord of the Church to grave disturbances. 

324. But, whilst not inclining to either party in the struggle, 
We occupy Ourselves equally on behalf of both; and at the same 
time We follow with anxiety and anguish the awful phases of this 
war and even fear that sometimes the violence of attack exceeded 
all measure. We are struck with the respectful attachment to the 
Common Father of the faithful; an example of which is seen in 
regard to Our beloved people of Belgium in the letter which We 
recently addressed to the Cardinal Archbishop of Malines. 

325. And We here make an appeal to the humanity of those 
who have crossed the frontiers of adversary nations and beseech 
them not to devastate invaded regions more than is strictly required 
by the necessities of military occupation, and what is of even 
greater importance, not to wound without real necessity the in- 



habitants in what they hold most dear, their sacred temples, the 
ministers of God, the rights of religion and of faith. We fully 
understand how hard it is for those whose country is occupied by 
the enemy to find themselves forced under the yoke of the foreigner, 
but We would not have the ardent desire of recovering their inde- 
pendence induce them to disturb the maintenance of public order 
and so seriously aggravate their own position. 

326. For the rest, Venerable Brethren, we ought not, in the 
midst of the great and heavy sorrows which press upon us, to lose 
courage; the darker the future seems, the greater should be the 
confidence with which we approach the throne of grace to obtain 
mercy and find grace in seasonable aid?* 

327. We must, therefore, as We have already ordered, address 
instant and humble prayers to the Lord Who is the Master and 
Sovereign Arbiter of human affairs and Who alone can, as He 
thinks best, direct the wills of man. We do not think that peace 
departed from the world without the Will of God. The nadons 
which have placed all their thoughts on the things of this world 
are permitted by God to punish each other by slaughter for the 
disrespect and negligence with which they have treated Him, and 
other happenings befall to compel men to humble themselves under 
the mighty Hand of God. 50 

328. Of such a sort is the catastrophe of these last days,* the 
horrible devastation of which we all know. And that is the reason, 
since prayer in common is the most pleasing to God and the most 
fruitful, that We call upon all men of good will to propitiate the 
Divine mercy, by personal prayer, and, above all, by taking part 
in the public prayers in the churches. In order that an immense 
chorus of suppliant voices may rise to heaven, We have prescribed 
two solemn ceremonies of expiadon, one for the Catholics of Eu- 
rope on February 7, and the other for the rest of the Catholic world 
on March 21. We have decided to assist at the first in St. Peter's, 
and We are sure that you, Venerable Brethren, will not fail to 
take part in it along with Us. 

329. May the Blessed Virgin, the Help of Christians, hearken to 
and strengthen the prayers of the Church. May her intercession 
obtain from her Divine Son that men's minds may return to the 

49 Hebrews, IV, 16. 
50 I Peter, V, 6. 


worship of the truth, their souls to that of justice, and may the 
peace of Christ return to the world and establish its dwelling 
amongst men. . . . 

LETTER Opinionem Quam Habebamus TO ARCHBISHOP LIKOW- 


The Holy Father laments the miserable condition of 

February i, 1915 

330. . . . And what you have related to Us in the aforesaid 
letters concerning the miseries of Poland is indeed such that, al- 
though it had already been otherwise ascertained by Us, it has 
nevertheless filled Our heart with no common sadness. 

331. For, as We have long known that the illustrious citizens 
of Poland have always been firm in their adhesion both to the 
Church of God and to this Apostolic See, We have indeed extended 
to them, as is fitting, Our benevolence and love. For this reason, 
as joy and sadness are shared in common by father and sons, in 
no wise can it be that We, surrounded with griefs and difficulties, 
are not affected by the greatest sorrow owing to the calamities 
whereby, during this most cruel war, the inhabitants of Poland are 
so shockingly tortured. And, whilst We turn Our mind and heart 
to them with paternal charity, how many tears start to Our eyes! 
All these things so vehemently stir Our inmost and secret feelings, 
that We feel the charity of the Father toward children so griev- 
ously harassed, increased in the highest degree. Therefore, to the 
eternal Author of all consolations We commend exceedingly the 
citizens of Poland, to Us indeed most dear, and We earnestly be- 
seech Him at length to restrain the fury of war and propitiously 
and with good-will to grant the peace most earnestly desired and 
the choicest fruits of peace. These Our desires may God regard 
and prosper and may He in His highest clemency be pleased to 
turn to good for the Poles whatsoever evils they have suffered and 
are still suffering. But do you, Venerable Brother, and the other 
Bishops of Poland, continue to do what pastoral love can devise 

51 Translation from Rome, v. 17, pp. 140-141 (March 20, 1915). Original Latin, 
A.A.S., v. 7, pp. 91-92 (February 27, 1915). 


QUOD ERAT [332] 

and to display all solicitude and care for each one of your flock; 
and strive with all your strength by your aid to mitigate the suffer- 
ings of your children, to alleviate their sorrows, to dry their tears. 
And We are led to cherish good hopes that, by the intercession of 
the Blessed Virgin, patroness of Poland, the God of all prosperity 
will open to the Poles and benignantly pour out upon them the 
treasures of His gifts. May these be guaranteed and secured by the 
Apostolic Benediction which . . . We impart very lovingly in the 


Deep papal sympathy for Belgium. 

February 4, 1915 

332. What We have already known about the sad state to 
, which, in general^ the Belgian hopes and Belgian affairs have been 
miserably reduced by the terrible and bitter war, has been con- 
firmed by your recent official letters in connection with a specific 
case, namely the diocese of Namur, so dear to Us. What you have 
told Us, though, is enough to afflict anyone with the greatest sor- 
row. What, then, shall be said of Our feelings, of Us who carry 
the burden of fatherhood, and by that fact feel worry and care 
for the well-being and care of Our children? But if the pity and 
love of a parent brings much comfort to the children who are 
suffering, then there is reason for you and your flock to be com- 
forted and consoled; for We "have been, and do not cease to be, 
sharers of all the hardships and difficulties by which We see you so 
grievously oppressed, and We extend to you Our special good will 
and love. Consequently, nothing would be more preferable to Us 
than finally to see the end of so great, so terrible a scourge. There- 
fore, We earnestly commend to God, Who alone is omnipotent, 
all these sons of Ours who mourn, especially the citizens of the 
distinguished Belgian nation, fervently praying that with His grace 
the day of that most desired peace *may soon begin to break, and 
that He in His mercy will deign propitiously to give the ripest and 
best fruit of peace especially to you who have endured so much. . . . 

52 Original Latin, U Opera delta Santa Sede f pp. 176-177. 

[333-334] BENEDICT XV 


The Holy Father praises and congratulates the Red 

February 19, 1915 

333. Amid the bitter pains which afflict the heart of the August 
Pontiff, dismayed at the desolating spectacle presented by the 
present enormous war, one thing has given him precious encourage- 
ment: the knowledge that in his apostolic work, aimed at diminish- 
ing the immensity of the ruins caused by the war, or at least 
mitigating its disastrous effects by assuaging the sorrow of families, 
of the wounded, of the prisoners, he has had, and continues to 
have, the collaboration of an elect band of persons, especially abroad 
in free Switzerland, who are helping him faithfully and even 
anticipating him in his yearnings of Christian charity. To this 
band, instinct with a splendid spirit of Christian brotherhood and 
most noble pity, the Red Cross of Geneva, so worthily presided 
over by you, is proud to belong, and, therefore, to you and to the 
Red Cross go with good right the gratitude of numberless unhappy 
ones, and the congratulations and praises of the August Pontiff. 
His Holiness hopes to have you always as his co-operator in works 
of charity, and trusts that you will ever continue to dedicate, with 
generosity and confidence, all your beneficent activity to the cause 
of the afflicted. And the Lord, Who counts every tear of suffering 
that has been pitifully dried, will not fail to reward every charitable 
undertaking with His choicest blessings. 


An offering to relieve the distress in Poland. 
March 12, 1915 

334. The August Pontiff, , instead of sending the usual tele- 
graphic reply, has charged me to let you know of the feelings of 

53 Translation from The Tablet, v. 125, p. 375 (March 6, 1915). Original Italian, 

Civilta Cattolica, 1915, v. 2, p. 498 (May 8, 1915). 
54 Translation from Rome, v. 17, pp. 169-170 (April 10, 1915). Original Italian, 

L 'Opera della Santa Sede, pp. 200-201. 



gratitude and fatherly affection produced in him by the reading 
of the telegram, so full of devotion, of the General Relief Com- 
mittee for the victims of the war in Poland. You know how deep 
the Holy Father's grief is at the terrifying spectacle of the awful 
slaughter and ruins which are the consequences of the present war. 
As Vicar of that merciful God Who has infinitely loved all men 
and given for all the price of His Blood, he suffers from the pains 
of all the combatants and is in mourning for all the families. His 
affection goes out to all his children without distinction and, as he 
said at the last Consistory, his heart is especially touched at the 
thought of the pain of all those sons of his who are most grievously 
tried by this horrible catastrophe. I can assure you truly that your 
Committee, by relieving the victims of the war in Poland and thus 
carrying on a work eminently charitable and merciful, has pro- 
foundly moved the fatherly heart of the August Pontiff. 

335. In his beloved sons of Poland he sees not only a people 
plunged in terror and desolation, but he recognizes and loves in 
them children especially affectionate and generous, who are devoted 
to the Holy See to the point of sacrifice. Hence, as His Holiness 
has already given a proof of his interest in Catholic Belgium by 
sending it a letter of encouragement with his personal offering and 
that of the Sacred College, so now he is especially glad to be able 
to confer the same privileges on his well-beloved people of Poland, 
by sending a similar offering in his own august name and in that 
of his College, together with an autograph letter to relieve their 
distress and to comfort them in their anguish. And now His 
Holiness congratulates your Relief Committee on the truly char- 
itable work which is relieving the miseries of his most beloved 
children of Catholic Poland, and in token of his fatherly affection 
he bestows with all his heart the Apostolic Blessing on all the Polish 
nation, on all who assist it, and especially on you and on the mem- 
. bers of the Committee. 

[336-337] BENEDICT XV 

DECREE Annuendo alia Pia Domanda ISSUED BY CARDINAL 

The Pope authorizes another day of prayer for peace. 
March 15, 1915 

336. Our Most Holy Lord, Pope Benedict XV, assenting to the 
pious request of many of the faithful and particularly of the Priests 
Adorers of Italy, who, moved by devotion towards the Most Holy 
Eucharist and also by the desire of concurring by repeated prayers 
in obtaining from the Divine Mercy the grace of peace, have im- 
plored authorization to be empowered to repeat in the churches of 
Europe, on the 21 st of the current month of March, the sacred 
functions ordered by His Holiness, for that day, in the dioceses 
outside of Europe, has been graciously pleased to acquiesce in the 
above mentioned request, according right willingly the authoriza- 
tion requested to all those who wish freely to avail of it, and 
granting a plenary indulgence to all those who, having confessed 
and communicated, shall assist at the sacred functions or shall pray 
for some time in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed for 
the adoration of the faithful. 



The Holy Father thanks him for the alms offered the 
Mexican victims of the civil war. 

March 17, 1915 

337- We are in constant receipt of information about the efforts 
that Catholics, and especially the Catholics of the United States of 
America, are making under the guidance of the venerable bishops, 
to carry out Our wishes and to alleviate the sorrow and distress 
which for so long have been the heavy portion of many of Our 
brethren in Catholic Mexico, a country sorely harassed by revolu- 

55 Translation from Rome, v. 17, pp. 189-190 (April 17, 1915). Original Italian, 

A.A.S., v. 7, p. 138 (March 15, 1915). 
56 Translation from America, v. 13, p. 42 (April 24, 1915). Original Latin, A.A.S,, 

v. 7, pp. 168-169 (April 20, 1915). 

158 . 


tion. And in particular We are not unaware of the widespread, 
active charity, which has manifested itself in so many ways : through 
assistance given by the Press and by public meetings, by sub- 
scriptions and collections, and the inauguration of good works 
of all kinds. Different men have helped on the cause in various 
ways, some by lending to it the prestige of their high position as 
citizens, others by giving it financial assistance, and still others 
and to these We call especial attention by devoting to it their best 
qualities of head and heart; but in every case the motive power of 
their action has been charity. This has made it possible to shelter 
and afford assistance to the exiled bishops, priests and religious of 
both sexes, and has given Us the great consolation of seeing the 
young Mexican aspirants to the priesthood, notwithstanding their 
poverty, continuing their education in the seminaries. The result 
is that here in Europe all are beginning to recognize that the love, 
care and protection thus shown the exiles, are among the most 
beautiful characteristics of Christian and civil life in Amer- 

ALLOCUTION C'Est avec Couleurs Bien S ombres TO M. VAN DEN 

The Pope expresses compassion for Belgium. 
March 17, 1915 

338. In very sombre colors, M. le Ministre, you have depicted 
for Us the situation of your country. We, too, on receiving the 
letter of His Majesty, the King of the Belgians, accrediting you as 
his Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Holy 
See, are thinking of the misfortunes which have struck your noble 
country in these recent times. This sad memory constrains Us to 
repeat the sentiments which We have expressed directly to the 
Cardinal Archbishop of Malines and on the solemn occasion of the 
last Consistory. At the present moment We are glad to welcome 
you to Rome, M. le Ministre, but We cannot do so without express- 
ing the deep affliction which rends Our heart since the beginning 

57 Translation from The Tablet, v. 125, p. 441 (April 3, 1915). We have been unable 
to locate-the original of this allocution; the Osservatore Romano, March 18, 1915, 
carries an account of this audience but gives no direct quotations. 



of Our Pontificate. Still, We think that the Belgians should not 
forget that after the storm comes the sunshine, with comfort for 
those who dwell here below. We desire for Our beloved children 
of Belgium that it may soon be given to them to hail the fair sun 
of peace on the horizon of their country. We even wish We were 
not obliged to confine Ourself to mere desires. But for the moment 
We ask the people of Belgium not to doubt the affection which 
We love to cherish for them. This affection inspires Us when We 
assure the new Minister of Belgium of die welcome he will always 
find from Us in the fulfillment of his mission to strengthen the 
good relations which exist between his Government and the Holy 
See. Meanwhile We beg him to convey to his August Sovereign 
the expression of Our friendly sentiments, and to accept for himself 
the assurance of the satisfaction given Us by the selection of a per- 
sonage who, having been Minister of Justice and Professor of Law 
at the University of Louvain, cannot but be inspired by love of 
justice and truth. 


Moved by the misfortunes of Belgium, the Holy Father 
sends an offering to help the war victims. 

April 6, 1915 

339. From the beginning of his Pontificate, His Holiness, Bene- 
dict XV, looking out over the whole world, fixed his gaze chiefly 
on Europe, convulsed by this horrible war, and especially on Bel- 
gium, where he followed the painful events that have taken place 
there. Deeply moved by the misfortunes of this noble and generous 
nation, all the more dear to his heart in that it has remained faithful 
to the Church and the Holy See, and desiring to contribute to the 
relief of the sufferings of your dearly-beloved people, the Holy 
Father was most desirous to send the offering of his charity and of 
his august poverty. Never ceasing to send up the most ardent 
prayers to heaven to obtain from the God of Mercies the end of the 
terrible scourge of war, the Holy Father conjured Him especially to 

58 Translation from The Tablet, v. 125, pp. 535-536 (April 24, 1915). Original 
French, U Opera della Santa Sede, pp. 202-203. 



relieve the sorrows of your dear people, and wishing to give them 
a new proof of benevolence and love, His Holiness has decided to 
join to his prayers the offering of his fatherly charity, charging 
me to send you, notwithstanding the present painful conditions of 
the Holy See, the sum of twenty-five thousand francs, which I am 
glad to be able to enclose in the present letter. He cherishes the 
hope that the example of the Father of the faithful will be gener- 
ously followed by his numerous children, and that the offering of 
their charity, united with their prayers, will contribute to mitigate 
the sufferings of their brethren in Belgium. The Sovereign Pontiff 
has been glad to learn that numerous Relief Committees for Bel- 
gium have been founded, and have obtained consoling results, and 
he hopes that they will continue to develop a salutary activity and 
that all will willingly respond to their urgent appeals. As -a pledge 
of heavenly favors and of his most special predilection, His Holiness, 
with all the effusion of his heart, accords a special blessing to Your 
Eminence, to the episcopate, and to the clergy and people of Bel- 
gium, blessing at the same time all who come to their assistance. 


The Holy Father contributes alms for the suffering 
people of Poland. 

April 9, 1915 

340. The misery in which languish all the people of Poland, 
who more than others have had to suffer, and are suffering, the 
sad consequences of the war, has long since filled with immense 
sorrow the fatherly heart of the August Pontiff, and moved him to 
show by a personal offering and an autograph letter all the grief 
of his soul and all his fatherly predilection. But the later informa- 
tion that continues to arrive is so painfully grave that the Holy 

59 Translation from The Tablet, v. 125, pp. 372-373 (September 18, 1915)- Original 
Italian, L'Opera delta Santa Sede, pp. 203-205. Similar documents, not included 
in this book, concerning relief given to Poland are: Letter of Cardinal Gasparri to 
Bishop Sapieha of Cracow, March 24, 1915 (L'Opera della Santa Sede, p. 202). 
Letter of Cardinal Gasparri to H. Sienkiewicz, President of the Relief Commission 
for Poland, February 5, ,1916 (op. cit., p. 227). Letter of Cardinal Gasparri to 
H. Sienkiewicz, February 16, 1916 (op. cit., p. 227). Letter of Cardinal Gasparri 
to H. Sienkiewicz, March 14, 1916 (op. cit., p. 228). 



Father cannot but hasten again to the aid of the unhappy Poles, 
with the utmost desire to mitigate in some way their immense 
sufferings. Hence, His Holiness, while he never ceases to offer up 
prayers to the Most High that the beneficent beams of peace may 
again shine on the world, at the same time turns his most ardent 
hopes and his fervent prayers to the special benefit of the whole 
Polish people, that generous people who, by ancient tradition, are 
so devoted to the Holy See, and who are now being so sorely tried 
by the greatest misfortunes. Hence, together with his good wishes 
and prayers, His Holiness is eager to send a new and tangible 
proof of his interest in all Poland, belonging to the Austrian, Ger- 
man and Russian Empires. And in view of the urgency of the 
need, His Holiness, intending to address himself to all the Polish 
episcopate, has charged me to send Your Lordship, with whom the 
Holy See can most easily communicate, the enclosed sum of twenty- 
five thousand crowns, an amount which is, of course, altogether 
disproportionate to the grave necessities of Poland, but which is 
a clear proof of the most special solicitude which the Vicar of Jesus 
Christ, in his august poverty, more accentuated than ever at this 
terrible hour, cherishes for the whole of Poland. In communicating 
to Your Lordship, and through you to the other Bishops of Poland, 
the comforting assurance of the special prayers of the Holy 
Father, and in sending you at the same time this offering of his 
charity, which you and the other Bishops of all Poland will kindly 
distribute, together with words of comfort and hope, where the 
need is most urgent, I am glad to add that His Holiness would 
see with satisfaction all the Bishops of Austrian, German, and 
Russian Poland address a brotherly invitation to all Catholics to 
nave them as co-operators and imitators of the Common Father 
of the Faithful in his prayers and in his offering The woes of 
Poland can now be alleviated only by the universal succor of the 
peoples, and the Holy Father trusts that all his children, respond- 
ing to the invitation of the Polish episcopate, will vie with one 
another in barkening to the appeal and in alleviating by their 
united prayers and their united offerings the calamities of that 
noble people. And in this hope the August Pontiff, Vicar of that 
merciful God who has been pleased to count as done to Himself 
what is done for those in affliction and misery, in invoking upon 
all beloved Poland an abundance of heavenly comfort and of fra- 



ternal charitable offerings, imparts with all the affection of his 
heart a special Apostolic Blessing to all who, by their prayers and 
their offerings, show themselves as merciful benefactors. . . . 


Prayers for peace shall be recited during the May De- 

April 9, 1915 

341. His Holiness, Pope Benedict XV, moved by the pious 
desire ever the more to increase devotion to the Most Holy Virgin, 
to whom is consecrated the month of May, and animated also by 
the comforting confidence that, by means of the powerful inter- 
cession of the Mother of God, who amongst her other titles is 
likewise adorned with that most noble title of Queen of Peace, the 
end of the present most distressing war can be secured at the earliest 
possible moment, has decreed that in the whole Catholic world be 
recited every day, during the sacred May Devotions, the prayer 
for peace, composed by His Holiness himself, to which prayer the 
Holy Father has been graciously pleased to attach an indulgence of 
300 days to be gained once a day, and a plenary indulgence to be 
gained in customary form of the Church by those of the faithful 
who for not less than 20 days will have taken part in the recital of 
the same prayer. 


The Holy Father has tried to mitigate the disastrous 
consequences of the war without distinctions of nation- 
ality, party or religion. 

April 23, 1915 

342. You know what a painful effect the heart of the Holy Father 
has experienced from the disasters caused by the terrible war which 
is spreading its ruins all over Europe, nor are you unaware that 

60 Translation from Rome, v. 17, p. 190 (April 17, 1915). Original Italian, A.A.S., 

v. 7, p. 193 (April 20, 1915). 

61 Translation from Rome, v. 17, pp. 224-225 (May 8, 1915). Original French, A.AS. r 

v. 7, pp. 249-250 (May 21, 1915). 


[343-346] BENEDICT XV 

His Holiness has made every effort in his power to mitigate its 
disastrous consequences without considering any distinctions of 
party, nationality, or religion. Still it is natural that the solicitude 
of the Father of all the faithful be exercised especially for those 
of his children who show most warmly their respect and affection 
for him. 

343. Among these, particular mention is due to the children of 
France, the children of that nation which with just reason came 
to be called the "Eldest Daughter of the Church" which has ever 
given splendid proofs of its generosity towards Catholic works, 
and especially towards the Missions, and which at this moment, 
and for months past, and from one end to the other of its territory, 
in the army as well as in the ambulances, in the hospitals and even 
in the smallest villages, presents splendid demonstrations of faith 
and piety that greatly console the Holy Father. 

344. Hence, His Holiness, amid all the great evils of the hour, 
has with good reason felt himself drawn with particular sympathy 
towards certain portions of the French people which have been 
tried more severely than the others by the scourge of war so much 
so that, notwithstanding the charitable efforts of the nation and 
the world, they are in great need of material and moral assistance. 
Most deeply touched by their sufferings the Supreme Pontiff, while 
never ceasing to offer up to the Most High his prayers and suppli- 
cations to obtain the termination of this era of bloodshed, fervently 
entreats the Divine Bounty to grant help and comfort in their 
sorrows to the most sorely afflicted portions of the French people. 

345. To these hopes and prayers the Holy Father desires to add 
a tangible proof of the affectionate interest he takes in the unfor- 
tunate people. His Holiness has, therefore, charged me to send 
Your Eminence by this letter, that it may be used for their relief, 
the sum of forty thousand francs: an offering small indeed when 
compared with the extent of the disasters, but one which will at 
least manifestly show the fatherly affection which the Vicar of 
Christ, in his august poverty, rendered more acute by the difficulties 
of the present times, wishes to testify to France, his dearly beloved 

346. And as we have learned that on the Sunday and Monday 
of next Pentecost there is to be a great collection organized by a 
committee, which has been constituted with your concurrence, on 



behalf of the occupied districts, the Holy Father hopes his own 
act of liberality may serve as a prelude to the generosity of all the 
French in favor of an initiative so Christian and so patriotic. The 
August Pontiff, happy in the thought that he will thus have as 
co-operators in charity, prayer and contributions all his beloved chil- 
dren of France united under the guidance of their venerated Bishops, 
invokes upon them with all his heart a rich reward in heaven. . . . 


The German clergy are praised for treating their war 
prisoners as brothers in Jesus Christ. 

April 29, 1915 

347. Your Excellency, it is my pleasure to answer your letter 
of April first, in which you informed me of the charitable work 
accomplished by you in behalf of the war prisoners, with the precious 
co-operation of your clergy. In this connection you informed me 
thajt numerous persons of good will are continually working in the 
office created for that purpose, devoting themselves with an admir- 
able spirit of self-sacrifice to the task of bringing relief to the prison- 
ers and their families; doing this all the more cheerfully because 
they realize that they are carrying on the beneficent work initiated 
by the Holy Father, and all the more commendably, because they 
are succoring enemies, whom true evangelical charity makes them 
regard as brothers in Jesus Christ, without distinctions of nationality 
and religion. 

348. It affords me great pleasure, Your Excellency, to 'assure 
you once more that His Holiness looks with the highest approval 
upon your intelligent and merciful work. Such activity finds a 
worthy parallel in the eagerness shown by the other reverend 
prelates of Germany in behalf of war and civilian prisoners, and in 
particular in the work undertaken for the relief of the imprisoned 
French clergymen by Cardinal von Hartmann, work for which he 
merited the solemn praise of His Holiness in the letter of October 
eighteenth of the past year. 63 

62 Original Italian, A.A.S., v. 7, pp. 224-225 (May 6, 1915). 

63 See supra n, 278. 


[349-35] BENEDICT XV 

349. It is, therefore, the wish of the Holy Father that Your 
Excellency and all those who, with exquisite sense of Christian 
charity, are striving and will continue to strive to co-operate with 
him, receive the expression of his sovereign approval and praise. 
In the meanwhile, to encourage even more their holy fervor, he 
again bestows upon you and all your associates, the Apostolic 
Blessing, as a sign of particular benevolence. . . . 

LETTER Communes Litteras TO THE BAVARIAN Bisnops. 04 

An exhortation to the faithful of Germany to be instant 
in prayer for peace. 

May 3, 1915 

350. The common letter which you, recently assembled to- 
gether, have addressed to Us, We have most gladly read, both 
because of the expression of your dutifulness and affection, which 
is indeed very gratifying to Us, and because of the hope of better 
things which it announces to Us; of which, as you write, the wide- 
spread revival of popular piety in your dioceses also affords promise. 
May it indeed come to pass that, with God's assistance, even "the 
calamities of this frightful war may co-operate unto good; and this, 
needless to say, will come to pass the more fruitfully, in proportion 
as your charity is the more vigilant. Meanwhile you have acted 
very wisely, as, in obedience to Our wishes, you have exhorted the 
faithful of your dioceses, to be instant in prayer in the existing 
grievous circumstances; for, as you know, the assiduous supplica- 
tion of the just man availeth much: and We trust that it will come 
to pass that God, supplicated by common prayer, will fulfill the 
general desires, so bestowing the desired gifts of peace, that the 
nations of afflicted Europe may as long as possible enjoy its pleni- 
tude. Meanwhile, may the Apostolic Benediction, which as a token 
of Our benevolence We very lovingly in the Lord bestow on all of 
you, Our Beloved Son and Venerable Brethren, and on the clergy 
and people committed to each one of you, be a harbinger of the 
divine favors. . . . 

64 Translation from Rome, v. 17, pp. 293-294 (June 19, 1915). Original Latin, A.A.S., 
v. 7, p. 259 (June i, 1915). 




The Pope promises that the Vatican Library will donate 
its duplicate boo\s and its own publications to help 
rebuild the destroyed Louvain Library. 

May 8, 1915 

351. The Holy Father has duly received the letter of the 15 
April last, whereby Your Excellency, as member of the General 
Council of the University of Louvain, solicits the support of the 
Holy See for the reconstruction of the Library of the University. 

352. It affords me pleasure to announce to you that, always 
deeply interested in everything that concerns the well-being of his 
dear children of Belgium and desiring that the belligerents in the 
course of the struggle be careful to safeguard the scientific and lit- 
erary treasures of every people, the Sovereign Pontiff will be very 
happy to contribute, by every means in his power, towards the 
reconstruction of that famous Library which contained such precious 
literary treasures, of the greatest advantage to the intellectual cul- 
ture and civilization of Belgium and of the whole world. 

353. In order to encourage and favor from now onward an 
enterprise so laudable, His Holiness has been pleased to order that 
there be destined thereto not only the publications of the Vatican 
Library but also all the works therein disposable, without prejudice 
to other ways in which the Holy Father, who has it so much at 
heart to follow in this the noble traditions of his Predecessors, may 
be able later on to assist so excellent a work, and thus manifest his 
zeal for the increase of the sciences and the preservation of the 
literary patrimony of humanity. 

354. At present I deem it opportune to advise Your Excellency 
that you will at once receive the catalog of the above mentioned 
works, and that they will be forwarded as soon as circumstances 
permit. . . . 

66 Translation from Rome, v. 18, p. 56 (July 31, 1915). Original French, L'Opera 
della Santa Sede, p. 207. 


[355~356] BENEDICT XV 


Cardinal reports on negotiations with the Swiss Gov- 
ernment to give hospital care to the wounded of the 
belligerent powers. 

May 14, 1915 

355. The Sovereign Pontiff, Benedict XV, always occupied with 
lessening, as much as he is able, the sad consequences of the war, 
wishes in particular to lighten the burden of the prisoners of war. 
Thus, he is impressed by the desire expressed by the French Gov- 
ernment that the Helvetic Republic, already so renowned for her 
traditional hospitality and for the important part which she has 
taken in the exchange of invalid prisoners, receive on her soil 
wounded or sick prisoners of war. 

356. To this end the Holy Father has sent a trustworthy person 
to His Excellency, the President of the Swiss Confederation, who 
has graciously consented to this humanitarian endeavor, informing 
the Holy See that the Federal Government is disposed to hospi- 
talize, at a definite place on its territory, a considerable number of 

06 Original French, U Opera della Santa Sedc, pp. 99-100. Similar documents, not 
included in this book, concerning me hospitalization of sick and wounded prison- 
ers are: Letter of Cardinal Gasparri to Cardinal Amette, April 3, 1915 (U Opera 
dclla Santa Scde, p. 95). Letter of Cardinal Gasparri to the Ambassador of 
Austria-Hungary, May 14, 1915 (op cit., p. 96-97). Letter of Cardinal Gasparri 
to the Ministers of Belgium and England, May 14, 1915 (op. cit., pp. 98-99). 
Letter of Cardinal Gasparri to the Minister of Prussia, June 7, 1915 (op. cit., 
pp. 102-103). Letter of Cardinal Gasparri to the Minister of Prussia, June 
1 6, 1915 (op. cit., p. 103). Letter of Cardinal Gasparri to the Minister of 
Prussia, July 31, 1915 (op. cit. f pp. 105-106). Telegram of Cardinal Gasparri 
to the Minister of Prussia, January 29, 1916 (op. cit., pp. 106-107). Tele- 
gram of Cardinal Gasparri to the Bishop of Coira, January 26, 1916 (op. cit., 
p. 107). Letter of Cardinal Gasparri to the Minister of England, July 21, 1916 
(op. cit., p. 109), Letter of Cardinal Gasparri to the Minister of Russia, January 
7, 1916 (op. cit., p. in). Letter of Cardinal Gasparri to the Minister of Russia, 
February 14, 1916 (op. cit., p. 112). Letter of Cardinal Gasparri to the Minister 
of Prussia, June 7, 1916 (op. cit., pp. 112-113). Letter of Cardinal Gasparri to 
the Charge d'Affaires of Russia, June 9, 1916 (op. cit., pp. 113-114). Letter of 
Cardinal Gasparri to Msgr. Marchetd-Selvaggiani, July 13, 1916 (op. cit., p. 117). 
Letter of Cardinal Gasparri to the Charge d'Affaires of Russia, July 23, 1916 
(op. cit., pp. 117-118). Letter of Cardinal Gasparri to Cardinal von Hartmann, 
Archbishop of Cologne, May 19, 1916 (op. cit., pp. 118-119). Letter of Cardinal 
Gasparri to Cardinal Amette, July 4, 1916 (op. cit. t p. 121),. Letter of Cardi- 
nal Gasparri to the Pro-Apostolic Nuncio in Vienna, July 8, 1916 (op. cit., 
p. 122). Letter of Cardinal Gasparri to the Charge d'Affaires of Russia, July 8, 
1916 (op. cit., p. 123). 



Franco-Anglo-Belgian wounded or sick prisoners; and, at another 
location, an equal number of Austro-German prisoners who are in 
the same condition. The Swiss Government will be able to begin 
by accepting 10,000 prisoners from each side, without undue 

357. The major lines of this project will be the following: 

(1) Each Government is responsible to the Swiss Government 
for the amount of all the expenses occasioned by the prisoners of 
its nation. 

(2) The Swiss Government will assume the responsibility of 
guarding the prisoners entrusted to her; at the same time, France 
and her allies on the one hand, Germany, Austro-Hungary and 
Turkey on the other, must do everything in their powerf in the case 
of the escape of one of their prisoner-subjects, to return him to the 
guard of the Federal Government. 

(3) Those men who have recovered will be sent back to the 
Government which originally interned them as prisoners. 

(4) They will successively provide for the replacement of the 
dead and of those men who have recovered. 

As to the other phases of the project, they will be determined 
by the Swiss, in agreement with the various belligerents. 

358. Such is the whole of the project which I have the honor 
of communicating to Your Eminence, praying you to acquaint the 
French Government in the way you may think best with this 
knowledge, in order that we may know how the latter will receive 
an official proposal by the Holy See on this matter. 

359. The Russian, Serbian, Montenegrin prisoners held in Ger- 
many, in Austria, or in Turkey, as also the Austro-German or 
Turkish prisoners held in Russia, Serbia, Montenegro, not being 
able to be hospitalized in Switzerland, will be the object of later 
solicitude on the part of the Holy See; and to this end I shall not 
fail to enter into discussions with the respective Governments. . . . 


[360] - BENEDICT XV 


The appeals for peace go unheeded; now Italy enters 
the war. 

May 25, 1915 

360 But as Our words cannot be addressed to all the 

Sacred College together, We think well to make them known to 
you, Lord Cardinal, with the intention in this way of speaking to 
the individual members of the venerable body of which you are 
the worthy Dean. In Our first Encyclical, moved by the , supreme 
desire to see ended the horrible slaughter which is dishonoring 
Europe, W^ exhorted the Governments of the belligerent nations 
that, considering all the tears and all the blood that had been so 
far shed, they should make haste to give back to their peoples the 
life-giving benefits of peace: "We beg of those who hold in their 
hands the destinies of peoples," We said, "to give heed to that 
voice. If their rights have been violated, they can certainly find 
other ways and other means of obtaining a remedy; to these, lay- 
ing aside the weapons of war, let them have recourse in sincerity 
of conscience, and good-will. With no view to Our own self- 
interest do We speak thus, but in charity toward them and toward 
all nations. Let them not suffer Our voice of father and friend to 
pass away unheeded." But, We say it with a heart broken with 
sorrow, the voice of the friend and the father was not listened to;- 
the war continues to ensanguine Europe, and^ not even do men 
recoil from means of attack, on land and on sea, contrary to the 
laws of humanity and to international law. And, as if that were 
not enough, the terrible conflagration has extended also to Our 
beloved Italy, giving ground, alas, to fear for her also that sequel 
of tears and disasters which is wont to follow every war even when 
fortunate. While Our heart bleeds at the sight of so many mis- 
fortunes, We have not desisted from endeavoring to alleviate and 
diminish, as far as is possible for Us, the most unhappy conse- 
quences of the war. We give thanks to God for having crowned 
with happy success the efforts We have made to obtain from the 
belligerent nations the exchange of the prisoners of war unfit for 

67 Translation from The Tablet, v. 125, p. 770 (June 12, 1915). Original Italian, 
A.A.S., v. 7, pp. 253-255 (June I, 1915)- 

I 7 


further military service. In addition to that We have recently also 
exerted Ourself on behalf of wounded or invalided prisoners of war 
not wholly unfit for military service, in order to render their lot 
less grave and to facilitate their cure. But the needs of the soul, so 
much superior to those of the body, have above all engaged Our 
fatherly attention. To this end We have furnished the military 
chaplains with the most ample faculties, authorizing them to avail 
themselves for the celebration of Mass and for the assistance of the 
dying of privileges which can be conceded only in the most ex- 
ceptional circumstances. Those faculties and these privileges We 
intend to be used not only by the priests now called to render 
service as chaplains in the Italian army but also by all priests who 
find themselves under any title whatever in the ranks of the said 
army. And We conjure them all by the bowels of the charity of 
Jesus Christ to show themselves worthy of so holy a mission and to 
spare no care and no labor so that the soldiers may not be lacking 
in the arduous fight of the unspeakable comforts of religion. Pain- 
ful is the hour, and terrible is the moment through which we are 
passing; but sursum cor da. More frequent and more fervent be 
the prayers we send up to Him in whose hands are the destinies 
of nations. Let us all turn with confidence to the afflicted and 
Immaculate Heart of Mary, the most gentle Mother of Jesus and 
our Mother, that she, by her powerful intercession, may obtain from 
her Divine Son the speedy disappearance of the scourge of war 
and the return of peace and tranquillity 


The English government consents to treat the captured 
crews of submarines just li^e other war prisoners* 

July 3, 1915 

361. The Holy See has learned, with profound satisfaction, that 
the Government of His Britannic Majesty has agreed to treat the 
commanders and crews of German submarines like other prisoners 
of war, and that, therefore, the Imperial German Government has 

68 Original Italian, Civiltct Cattolica, 1918, v. 2, p. 307 (May 10, 1918). 


[362-364] BENEDICT XV 

consented, for its part, to render to all English officer prisoners the 
treatment which they formerly received. 

362. Since the rumored method of treating German submarine 
prisoners by England has been the sole motive of the German 
Government for withdrawing its consent, already given because of 
the intervention of the Holy See, to the exchange of civilian prison- 
ers who, regardless of their age, are incapable of military service, 
the Holy See now hopes that, this obstacle having been removed, 
the German Government will consent without delay to carry out 
the aforementioned exchange of civilian prisoners. 


He rejects M. Latapie's interpretations of the Holy 
Father's views on the war He explains precisely the 
Pope's ideas, and lists a number of pertinent documents. 

July 6, 1915 

363. I have not failed to give my best attention to the memoran- 
dum which Your Excellency handed to me with your note of 
June 30, and I now have the honor of communicating to you the 
observations which it has suggested to me. As Your Excellency 
is fully aware, the Holy See recognizes no authority in M. Latapie's 
account. As I have already declared in my interview with the rep- 
resentative of the Corriere d'ltalia, he has in no passage of his 
article reproduced exactly the real views of the Holy Father; in 
several he has completely misrepresented them, and some others 
are pure inventions. If the Holy Father denies all value to M. 
Latapie's narrative, it is clear that this rejection applies all the more 
strongly to what he may have said since upon the same subject. 

364. It cannot escape Your Excellency's keen penetration that 
the thought of the Holy Father ought to be looked for in his public 
and official acts, and not in publications or accounts given by 

69 Translation from The Tablet, v. 126, pp. 137-138 (July 31, 1915). Original French, 

Arnaud, Benefit XV et le Conflit Europeen, v. 2, pp. 210-215. 

70 M. Latapic, a correspondent of the French newspaper, Liberte, published on June 

22 what purported to be an interview with Benedict XV. M. Latapie actually 
interviewed the Holy Father but his newspaper accounts entirely misrepresented 
the Pope's mind. Cf. Rope, Benedict XV, the Pope of Peace, pp. 85-86. 



individuals; political passion often causes what is said to be mis- 
understood, and this, passed on from mouth to mouth, ends by 
taking on fantastic proportions. 

365. This general observation should of itself constitute a com- 
plete reply to the reflections contained in the memorandum. But 
out of my special regard for Your Excellency, I have no difficulty 
in discussing in detail the various points raised in it. 

366. (I) As regards the neutrality of Belgium, I must assure 
Your Excellency in the most categorical manner that the Holy 
Father did not give M. Latapie the reply which he has dared to 
imagine and state in his article. 

367. The truth on the matter is as follows: 

The German Chancellor, Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg, openly 
declared on August 4, 1914, in Parliament, that in invading Belgian 
territory, Germany was violating the neutrality of Belgium con- 
trary to international law. As a general rule, in present conflicts, 
one party brings forward an accusation which the other denies; 
and the Holy See, not being able to throw light upon it by an 
inquiry, finds it impossible to pronounce on the matter. But, in 
this case, the German Chancellor himself recognized that the in- 
vasion of Belgium was a violation of neutrality contrary to inter- 
national law, though he pleaded its justification by military 
necessity. Hence the invasion of Belgium was directly included in 
the words of the Allocution in the Consistory of January 22, by 
which the Pope utterly condemned all injustices by whichever side 
and with whatever motive committed. It is true that since then 
Germany has published certain documents of the Belgian Head- 
quarters Staff, by which she seeks to show that Belgium had, before 
the war, failed in her duty as a neutral, and that, consequently, 
her neutrality at the moment of invasion Was no longer in existence. 
It is not for the Holy See to decide this historical question, and its 
solution is not necessary, seeing that even if the German view were 
admitted, it would not alter the fact that Germany, on the Chan- 
cellor's own admission, invaded Belgium with the consciousness 
of thereby violating her neutrality, and so of committing an in- 
justice. This is sufficient for it to be considered that such action 
is directly included in the Pope's Allocution. 

368. (II) Concerning Cardinal Mercier, M. Latapie puts into 
the mouth of the Holy Father these words: "I shall astonish 


you, but Cardinal Mercier was never put under arrest; he can go 
about his diocese as he desires." Had M. Latapie wished to be 
exact, he should have put the matter somewhat as follows: 

369. Cardinal Mercier has , not, as a matter of fact, been ar- 
rested in the strict sense of the word. The Holy See was led to 
understand that he had, and accordingly hastened to protest by an 
official note to the Prussian Minister on January 10. But since then 
it has learned that this protest could not be sustained as to an 
arrest of Cardinal Mercier in the strict sense of the word. 

370. Was the Cardinal at least detained, confined, or under 
guard in his palace? On the morning of January 4, Herr von 
Strempel, aide-de-camp of the Governor-General of Brussels, 
brought Cardinal Mercier a letter from him, with orders to wait 
for a reply. Quite rightly, the Cardinal preferred to postpone his 
reply till evening, in order to have time for consideration. Not- 
withstanding the pressing but courteous invitation made to him by 
the Cardinal to leave and return for the reply, the officer remained 
on the ground floor of the archiepiscopal palace, and kept his 
motorcar in the courtyard. Towards lunch-time he went into the 
town. Then, returning in the afternoon, he took the letter of reply 
and went off. That is more or less what happened. If it be wished 
to call that detention or confinement, the Holy See has no objection 
to make; but this is certain, that the Holy See, on being informed 
of what had occurred, did not fail to make its observations to the 
Prussian Minister. 

371. It is undeniable that Cardinal Mercier has not always been 
treated with the respect due to a Prince of the Church, and has 
not always been allowed the liberty to which he had a right for 
the exercise of his episcopal ministry. On each occasion, the Holy 
See, which is the jealous guardian of the honor and rights of the 
episcopate, and especially of the Sacred College, has been instant 
in drawing the attention of the German Government to the matter, 
in the way best fitted to the circumstances, and the more so in this 
case of a Cardinal so learned and holy as the Archbishop of 

372. In this connection it is opportune to recall that on the 
morning of January 3, which was a Sunday, a telegram came from 
the Government, requesting Cardinal Mercier not to go in the 
afternoon to Antwerp, where he was to preside at a religious ccre- 


mony in the cathedral. His Eminence had already decided not to 
go to Antwerp, but quite rightly regarded the message he had re- 
ceived as an invasion of the liberty of his pastoral ministry. To the 
remonstrances of the Holy See, the Minister of Prussia replied that 
the invitation or prohibition was grounded on reasons of public 
order arising out of the special circumstances of the moment. 

373. It is to be noted that if all the Bishops of Belgium, outside 
the zone of war, were free to go about their dioceses, Cardinal 
Mercier had, on account of his high dignity, actually obtained a 
permit for that purpose even outside his own diocese, except in 
certain places designated as being within the zone of military opera- 
tions, and for which all, members of the diplomatic corps included, 
must have a special permit. This permission having been taken 
away from him, the Holy See expostulated with the German 
Government, which immediately restored to the Cardinal the privi- 
lege to go about freely which he had previously enjoyed. 

374. And here it- will not be irrelevant to recall that the Holy 
See has interested itself actively in the lot of the suffragans of the 
Cardinal, the Bishops of Belgium. Without unduly extending the 
limits of this explanation, it will suffice to say that the Apostolic 
Nunciature protested to the Governor-General against the bad treat- 
ment of which the Bishops of Tournai and Namur were the object. 
After the taking of Antwerp, it demanded special protection both 
for the Cardinal and the Bishops of Ghent and Bruges; and on 
several occasions the personnel of the Nunciature went to different 
towns to visit the Bishops and see if they stood in need of any- 
thing. These visits helped to gain for the Bishop of Namur, as also 
for the Bishop of Liege and his Vicars-General, permission to go 
about freely in their dioceses, to gain an order for the evacuation 
of the diocesan seminary of Tournai by the military ambulance, 
and to obtain other important advantages which for the sake of 
brevity we refrain from enumerating. 

375. (Ill) Lastly, as regards the shooting of priests, the destruc- 
tion of churches and of buildings devoted to learning, and the 
sufferings of the Belgian people, the Holy See, far from remaining 
indifferent, has not only deplored such acts, but what is much more 
to the point, has employed every means to prevent or at least 
mitigate them. 

376. Amongst the many documents and acts which could be 



quoted to prove the constant solicitude of the Holy See on this 
matter, I will only here mention the following: 

(1) A Letter of the Holy Father to Cardinal Mercier of Decem- 
ber 8, 1914, in which the Holy Father, lamenting the sad condition 
of the Belgian nation, and praising their intention to collect Peter's 
Pence as usual, allocates the money so obtained for the needs of 
these unhappy people. 

(2) The Consistorial Allocution of January 22, in which the 
Holy Father appealed to the sentiments of humanity of those who 

^invaded enemies' country and besought them to abstain from need- 
less devastation of the invaded territory, and what is more impor- 
tant, from wounding the sentiments of the people in what they 
held most dear their sacred temples, the ministers of God, the 
rights of religion and faith. 

(3) Another Letter of the Holy Father of January 23, 1915, to 
Cardinal Mercier (and keenly appreciated by and very pleasing 
to him), in which His Holiness expresses to him his lively interest 
in his person, and his grief at the lack of respect shown to him 
and the restrictions placed upon his liberty. 

(4) A Letter of His Holiness on February 4, 1915, to Mgr. 
Thomas Louis Heylen, Bishop of Namur, in which the August 
Pontiff, affirming his paternal good-will for his beloved Belgian 
children, laments the misfortunes with which they are afflicted. 

(5) A Letter of the Cardinal Secretary of State to Cardinal 
Mercier of April 6, 1915, in which he transmits an offering from 
the Holy Father of 25,000 lire for the relief of the suffering of the 
Belgian people, and invites the Catholics of the whole world to 
follow his example. This invitation the Cardinal Secretary of State 
specially extended to the United States in his congratulations to 
Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore, on having accepted 
the honorary presidency of the Belgian Committee there formed, 
and in his wishes that the faithful of the great Republic would 
contribute generously to the fund. 

(6) A Letter of the Cardinal Secretary of State of May 8, 1915, 
to the General Council of the Catholic University of Louvain for 
the reconstruction of the University, in which the Holy See publicly 
expressed its desire that the belligerents, in the heat of strife, would 
do all they could to safeguard the literary and scientific treasures 
of the nations. 

NOUS AVONS RE$U [377"379] 

(7) A Letter of June 16, 1915, in which the Secretary of State 
conveys the blessing of the Holy Father to the League for the 
Restoration of Worship in Belgium, and recommends the work 
to the Catholics of the whole world, and sends, as a mark of His 
Holiness' paternal interest, an offering of 10,000 lire. 

(8) In addition to all this, the Holy See has done all it could, 
both directly and through the Nunciatures of Brussels and Munich, 
to exert its influence on behalf of religious, priests, and people of 

377. For truly, the faith and virtues of the Belgian clergy and 
people have always marked them for the paternal affection of the 
Holy Father, who has keenly felt their sorrows, as he proclaimed 
in his Consistorial Allocution of January 22. And the August Pontiff 
hopes, as he told Your Excellency when you presented your creden- 
tials on March 17, that his beloved sons of Belgium may soon be 
able to hail the bright sun of peace on the horizon of their country. 
He would wish not. to have to confine himself to mere prayers, 
but for the moment he calls upon Belgians not to doubt the good- 
will with which he loves to surround them. . . . 



His Holiness repudiates the Latapie article. 
July 11, 1915 

378. We have received the letter you addressed to Us on June 25 
on the subject of the well-known article published by M. Latapie 
in the Liberte. As you know, We refuse all authority to the inter- 
view. M. Latapie has, in his article, reproduced neither Our thought 
nor Our words, and he published it without any revision or author- 
ization on Our part, despite the promise he made. 

379. For the rest, it cannot have escaped your perspicacity that 
Our true thought must be derived from the public and official acts 
of the Holy See, and not from individual accounts of conversations 
with Us. Political passion or individual prejudices often put a gloss 
on the words heard, and, passing from mouth to mouth, these take 
on fantastic proportions. 

71 Translation from Tfie Tablet, v. 126, p. 116 (July 24, 1915)- Original French, 
Arnaud, Bendit XV, et Ic Conflit Europeen, v. 2, pp. 216-217. 


[380-383] BENEDICT XV 

380. To Our declaration, which itself constitutes a conclusive 
reply to your letter and to the many inaccurate comments which 
have appeared, especially in the Press, you may give what publicity 
you think fit. 

381. In order the better to enlighten your knowledge on the 
various points touched upon in M. Latapie's letter, We have given 
instructions that there shall be sent with Our letter the declaration 
made by Our Cardinal Secretary of State to the Corriere d'ltalia, 
and also the letters addressed by the Cardinal Secretary to the 
British Minister and Belgian Minister of dates July i and 6 re- 
spectively. . . . 

382. With the certainty that this expose is of a nature further 
to assure Our beloved children of France of the constant solicitude 
of Our heart in their regard, and in the hope of having fully 
satisfied your desire, We grant, with all Our heart, to you and to 
the faithful Our Apostolic Benediction. 



The Pope demands respect for international law. 
July 12, 1915 

383. The anxiety which, in your letter of the 30th of June, Your 
Lordship, as a watchful and loving pastor, expressed on behalf of 
your faithful grievously visited or threatened by the horrors of the 
war, is not only shared by the other Bishops of the Adriatic coast 
who, exposed to the same serious dangers, have hastened to place 
their troubles before the Common Father, but also finds a pro- 
found echo in the heart of the August Pontiff, who feels even more 
deeply all the sadness of human misfortunes. From the very be- 
ginning of his troubled Pontificate His Holiness has had no other 
thought than to arrest the terrible conflict raging in Europe or at 
least to mitigate its fearful consequences, and no sooner did he see 
this beloved country also invaded by war than he looked with loving 
anxiety toward those of his children nearest to him anxiety all 
the keener for the closeness of the ties which unite their lot with 

72 Translation from Rome, v. 18, p. 39 (July 24, 1915). Original Italian, L'Opera 
della Santa Sede, pp. 39-40. 



that of the Successors of St. Peter and for the glory of the monu- 
ments of religion and art built on that privileged soil. So, faithful 
to his mission of sovereign charity, and deeply moved by the trials 
undergone first of all after the outbreak of hostilities by the cities 
of the Adriatic coast, His Holiness did not delay a moment to 
make known to His Majesty, the Apostolic Emperor and King, and 
to the Imperial and Royal Government of Austria-Hungary his 
keen desire that the present unhappy war should be conducted 
in conformity with international laws and the principles of human- 
ity, and that in consequence open and undefended cities, artistic 
monuments and sacred temples should be respected, particularly 
the Sanctuary of Loreto, glory and guardian of the Marches, Italy 
and the world. 

384. If the Holy Father's noble wish has not been able to be 
carried fully into effect at present, will Your Lordship please be 
assured that the charity of the Vicar of Jesus Christ does not limit 
itself to one step only. Indeed I am in a position to assure you that 
in the future it will never cease, in the firm hope that the desolat- 
ing cloud which hangs over the heads of the beloved children of 
those dioceses may pass away, to give place to the serene atmosphere 
of tranquil life and, by God's will, to change into the glory of peace. 
And may peace be hastened by the prayers and penitence of the 
priests and faithful, particularly in those same dioceses, on which 
His Holiness with paternal benevolence invokes every celestial com- 
fort, imparting from his heart the Apostolic Benediction. 




After a year of war the Pope invites the warring nations 
to end the conflict and to ma\e a just peace. 

July 28, 1915 

385. When We, though all unworthy, were called to succeed 
on the Apostolic Throne the meek Pius X, whose life of holiness 
and well-doing was cut short by grief at the fratricidal struggle 
that had just burst forth in Europe, We, too, on turning a fearful 

73 Official English translation, A.A.S., v. 7, pp. 375-377- Original Italian, A.A.S., v. 7, 
PP- 365-368 (July 31, 1915). 


[386-387] BENEDICT XV 

glance on the blood-stained battlefields, felt the anguish of a father, 
who sees his homestead devastated and in ruins before the fury 
of the hurricane. And thinking with unspeakable regret of Our 
young sons, who were being mown down by death in thousands, 
We opened Our heart, enlarged by the charity of Christ, to all the 
crushing sorrow of the mothers, and of the wives made widows 
before their time, and to all the inconsolable laments of the little 
ones, too early bereft f a father's care. Sharing in the anxious 
fears of innumerable families, and fully conscious of the imperative 
duties imposed upon Us by the sublime mission of peace and of 
love, entrusted to Our care in days of so much sadness, We con- 
ceived at once the firm purpose of consecrating all Our energy and 
all Our power to the reconciling of the peoples at war: indeed, 
We made it a solemn promise to Our Divine Saviour, Who willed 
to make all men brothers at the cost of His Blood. 

386, And Our first words, as the Chief Shepherd of Souls, 
addressed to the nations and their rulers, were words of peace 
and of love. But Our advice, affectionate and insistent as that of a 
father an4 a friend, remained unheard. Our grief was aggravated, 
but Our purpose was unshaken; We turned, therefore, in all con- 
fidence to the Almighty, Who holds in His Hands the minds and 
hearts of subjects, as of Kings, begging of Him the cessation of 
the unprecedented scourge. We wished to associate all the faithful 
in Our fervent and humble prayer, and to make it the more 
efficacious, We arranged that it should be accompanied by works 
of Christian penance. But today, on the anniversary of the outbreak 
of the tremendous conflict, more intense is the desire of Our heart 
for the speedy conclusion of the war; still louder is Our fatherly 
cry for peace. May this cry, prevailing over the dreadful clash of 
arms, reach unto the peoples who are now at war, and unto their 
rulers, inclining both to milder and more serene views. 

387. In the holy name of God, in the name of our heavenly 
Father and Lord, by the Blessed Blood of Jesus, Price of man's 
redemption, We conjure you, whom Divine Providence has placed 
over the nations at war, to put an end at last to this horrible 
slaughter, which for a whole year has dishonored Europe. It is the 
blood of brothers that is being poured out on land and sea. The 
most beautiful regions of Europe, this garden of the world, are sown 
with corpses and with ruin: there, where but a short time ago 



flourished the industry of manufactures and the fruitful labor of 
the fields, now thunders fearfully the cannon, and in its destructive 
fury it spares neither village nor city, but spreads everywhere havoc 
and death. You bear before God and man the tremendous respon- 
sibility of peace and war; give ear to Our prayer, to the fatherly 
voice of the Vicar of the Eternal and Supreme Judge, to Whom 
you must render an account as well of your public undertakings, 
as of your own individual deeds. 

388. The abounding wealth, with which God, the Creator, has 
enriched the lands that are subject to you, allow you to go on 
with the struggle; but at what cost? Let the thousands of young 
lives quenched every day on the fields .of battle make answer: 
answer, the ruins of so many towns and villages, of so many monu- 
ments raised by the piety and genius of your ancestors. And the 
bitter tears shed in the secrecy of home, or at the foot of altars where 
suppliants beseech do not these also repeat that the price of the 
long drawn-out struggle is great too great? 

389. Nor let it be said that the immense conflict cannot be 
settled without the violence of war. Lay aside your mutual pur- 
pose of destruction; remember that nations do not die; humbled 
and oppressed, they chafe under the yoke imposed upon them, 
preparing a renewal of the combat, and passing down from gener- 
ation to generation a mournful heritage of hatred and revenge. 

390. Why not from this moment weigh with serene mind the 
rights and lawful aspirations of the peoples ? Why not initiate with 
a good will an exchange of views, directly or indirectly, with the 
object of holding in due account, within the limits of possibility, 
those rights and aspirations, and thus succeed in putting an end 
to the monstrous struggle, as has been done under other similar 
circumstances ? Blessed be he who will first raise the olive-branch, 
and hold out his right hand to the enemy with an offer of reason- 
able terms of peace. The equilibrium of the world, and the pros- 
perity and assured tranquillity of nations rest upon mutual 
benevolence and respect for the rights and the dignity of others, 
much more than upon hosts of armed men and the ring of 
formidable fortresses. 

391. This is the cry of peace which breaks forth from Our heart 
with added vehemence on this mournful day; and We invite all, 
whosoever are the friends of peace the world over, to give Us a 


[39 2 "393] BENEDICT XV 

helping hand in order to hasten the termination of the war, which 
for a long year has changed Europe into one vast battlefield. May 
the merciful Jesus, through the intercession of His Sorrowful 
Mother, grant that at last, after so horrible a storm, the dawn of 
peace may break, placid and radiant, an image of His own Divine 
Countenance. May hymns of thanksgiving soon rise to the Most 
High, the Giver of all good things, for the accomplished recon- 
ciliation of the States; may the peoples, bound in bonds of brotherly 
love, return to the peaceful rivalry of studies, of arts, of industries, 
and, with the empire of right re-established, may they resolve from 
now henceforth to entrust the settlement of their differences, not 
to the sword's edge, but to reasons of equity and justice, pondered 
with due calm and deliberation. This will be their most splendid 
and glorious conquest! 

392. In loving trust that the tree of peace may soon return to 
rejoice the world with such desirable fruits, We impart the Apostolic 
Benediction to all who make up the mystical flock confided to Us, 
and also for those, who do not yet belong to the Church of Rome, 
We pray the Lord to draw them close to Us in the bonds of per- 
fect charity. 

LETTER Au Milieu dc Vos Angoisses TO CARDINAL LUON, 

The Pope prays for the days of peace when the de- 
stroyed city of Rheims can be rebuilt. 

August i, 1915 

393 ....... And now, dear Son, We feel the need of remind- 

ing you of Our desire that days of peace and happiness will not be 
slow in rising upon your dear country, and in particular upon your 
diocese so sorely tried; that you may soon have the consolation 
o seeing your ruins rebuilt and prosperity and joy reborn in the 
midst of your beloved people. ... 

Ti Original French, Actcs de Bcnoit XV, I, p. 87. 


LETTER Test em Vestrae in Nos TO THE BISHOPS OF LoMBARDY. 75 

The Pope purposes to continue his wor]^ for peace. 

August 15, 1915 

394. Testimony of your homage to Us, We have received the 
letter, which you addressed to Us some days ago, when you held 
the annual conference at Milan. Therein undoubtedly you recall 
things that are sad; but amidst such a clash of arms and so many 
and such protracted sorrows, We fully understand that there can 
scarcely be anyone who does not continually ponder these things, 
who does not in daily conversation mention these things, because 
of which life has been for a long time past lived in continual 
solicitude. What We have done to secure peace and to lessen the 
calamities of the war, We have done urged by the charity of Christ; 
and under the same guidance We are resolved to continue what 
We have begun, so that the peoples so very numerous, having had 
such rich experience of the maternal providence of the Church, 
may, again recovering their senses, love its protection and guidance 
exceedingly. . . . 

LETTER Officiosissimis Utteris TO THE Swiss Bisnops. 76 
The Pope suffers with the afflicted war victims. 
August 17, 1915 

395. . . . With the afflicted We are afflicted, and because of 
them We are oppressed with cares and wearied with labors and 
immersed in anxious solicitude day and night. Whatsoever meas- 
ures charity suggests or each day presents for restoring peace and 
for diminishing the hardships of the war, these, as you well know, 
We proceed to make trial of, confiding for the most part in Him 
Who ever assists good designs. 

396. More than once, Venerable Brethren, and not indeed un- 
willingly, have We turned Our thoughts, amidst so great a clash 
of arms, to the Swiss peoples, and with you We have clearly per- 

75 Translation from Rome, v. 18, pL 195 (October 16, 1915). Original Latin, A.A.S., 

v. 7, p. 458 (October 6, 1915). 

76 Translation from Rome, v. 18, pp. 136-137 (September 18, 1915). Original Latin, 

A.A.S., v, 7, p. 434 (September 4, 1915). 

[397-4] BENEDICT XV 

ceived and understood how much they owe, in regard to the peace 
preserved, to the Divine benignity in the first instance, and also to 
the prudence of their Swiss rulers . . . We acknowledge how highly 
rated amongst you and amongst your citizens are the designs and 
undertakings of Our paternal solicitude. . . . 


Cardinal Gasparri sends io f ooo francs for relief. 
August 17, 1915 

397. I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that the Holy 
Father, in a burning desire to hasten to the aid of as many as feel 
the consequences of this frightful war, has expressed a desire to be 
informed about the present situation of the Grand Duchy of Luxem- 
bourg, especially in the matter of means of sustenance. 

398. Having learned to his sorrow how Luxembourg, if pos- 
sibly not in the same proportions as the other unfortunate countries 
involved in the war, suffered its disastrous consequences, he has 
decided to turn to it his paternal and solicitous concern, and to 
help its wretched condition as much as it is within his power. 

399. Indeed while he hoped and unceasingly hopes for the end 
of this most sorrowful misfortune, and while he raises to the Most 
High fervent prayers of hope, His Holiness has deigned to grant 
to Luxembourg, as a proof of his fatherly and special interest, the 
sum of ten thousand francs, and he has commissioned me to send 
it to Your Excellency, as the authority best fitted, in the present 
circumstances of the country, to receive the aforesaid assistance and 
to distribute it with a real knowledge of the needs. 

400. Such an offering is certainly not proportioned to the needs 
of that country, yet I am sure that Your Excellency will fittingly 
appreciate it, after considering the exceptional restrictions under 
which the Holy See labors because of the distressing consequences 
of the war. . . . 

77 Original Italian, L'Opera della Santa Sede, pp. 212-213. Other documents, not in- 
cluded in this book, concerning relief work in Luxembourg, are: Letter of Cardinal 
Gasparri to the Apostolic Nuncio in Belgium, January 28, 1915 (L'Opera della 
Santa Sede, pp. 209-210). Letter of Cardinal Gasparri to the Apostolic Nuncio in 
Belgium, August 17, 1915 (0p. cit., p. 212). 




Cardinal Gasparri expresses the Holy Father's desire 
that all war prisoners should rest on Sundays. 

August 23, 1915 

401. In his persevering solicitude to procure all possible allevia- 
tion of the lot of war prisoners, the Holy Father is concerned over 
information to the effect that they are forced to labor the entire 
week without any day of rest. Hence, he has thought it opportune 
to address an ardent appeal to the Governments of the belligerent 
nations so that, inspired with sentiments of religion and humanity, 
they may agree in establishing in all places, without exception, 
wherever prisoners are to be found, the absolute observance of 
the Sunday rest. 

402. In conformity with the instructions of the Sovereign Pontiff, 
the undersigned Cardinal Secretary of State makes known this 
desire of His Holiness to Your Excellency, and appeals most 
urgently to your noble and intelligent assistance, in order to obtain 
from your Government ... the desired agreement to the proposi- 
tion formulated above. . . . 



The faithful loo^ to the Holy See as the first source 
of peace. 

August 30, 1915 

403. Writing to Us, who bewail the bitter lamentations and 
tears both of those who are dying in the war and of those who 

78 Original French, U Opera della Santa Sede, p. 124. Similar documents, not included 

in this book, concerning Sunday rest for war prisoners, are: Letter of Cardinal 
Gasparri to the Apostolic Delegate in Constantinople, August 23, 1915 (U Opera 
della Santa Sede, pp. 124-125). Letter of Cardinal Gasparri to the Cardinal Arch- 
bishop of Paris, September 24, 1915 (op. cit., p. 127). Letter of Cardinal Gasparri 
to the Ministers of Belgium, England and Russia and to the Delegate of Serbia, 
October 28, 1915 (op. cit., p. 132). Letter of Cardinal Gasparri to the Apostolic 
Nuncio in Vienna, October 29, 1915 (op. cit., pp. 132-133). Letter of Cardinal 
Gasparri to the Apostolic Nuncio in Bavaria, October 29, 1915 (op. cit., p. 133). 

79 Translation from Rome, v. 18, p. 195 (October 23, 1915). Original Latin, A*A.S., 

v. 7, p. 459 (October 6, 1915). 



mourn their loss, these things which you recall linger in the mind: 
and for that reason We have even very recently sought to recom- 
mend to and urge upon kings and peoples alike peace, the work 
of justice. You indeed add. Our Beloved Son, that these offices of 
paternal charity have so stimulated for you and yours the desire 
of peace that, with expectant minds, you look to this Apostolic See 
as to the Orient from which the first light of the so long looked 
for peace shall at length shine upon the peoples: God grant that, 
as wished for, this may happen as speedily as possible! As mean- 
while Our every hope is in God, We have, as you well know, 
exhorted the faithful to confident and humble prayer to Him, to 
admonish them, in the first place, that the best recommendation 
of those who pray is found in virtues and example in keeping with 
the Christian profession. ... 



Catholics are exhorted to devote themselves to the 
restoration of peace. 

September 6, 1915 

404 Amidst the billows which buffet the nations, by 

whose tempestuous fury We behold the most flourishing States of 
Europe thrown into disorder and almost rent asunder, you easily 
understand, Our Beloved Son and Venerable Brother, Our state 
of mind owing to the daily slaughter of so many men and the 
calamities of so many peoples. The graver these things become 
with the lapse of time, We also note, the more ardent the desire 
for peace becomes amongst all. But We should very much wish 
that all these desires should amongst all pursue that royal road 
which, in charity, patient and benign, lies open to peace; from 
this road would they indeed wander far, who would deem it 
allowable for them by word or writing so to find fault with the 
Catholics of another nation that, provoking one another, as the 
Apostle says, envying one another, they would add new fuel to those 
feelings of wrath whose flames they are bound to extinguish with 

80 Translation from Rome, v. 18, p. 196 (October 23, 1915). Original Latin, A.A.S., 
v. 7, pp. 460-461 (October 6, 1915). 



kindness o judgment and gentleness of mind. Wherefore, whilst 
with all longing We desire peace and a peace indeed such as is 
needed by justice and is consonant with the dignity of the peoples 
We exhort Catholics, doing nothing through a spirit of contention, 
to devote themselves severally, with Christian brotherly love, to 
the restoration of peace. . . . 


There is need of insistent and incessant prayer for peace. 
September 18, 1915 

405. From Our earliest years We have ever held in highest 
honor, as bringing happiness and holiness to individuals, to families, 
to society, the mystic Crown which the Christian people with in- 
spired words of veneration and affection places every day on the 
royal head of the Mother of God. And now that through Divine 
Providence We have been raised to the Apostolic throne from 
which height there is a wider view of human needs, while their 
remedy is seen more clearly, We realize more keenly the need of 
Christian prayers, and We see that among all, that of the Rosary 
is more than ever necessary, for not only is it turned to her 
through whom it pleased God that all grace should come to us, 
but it bears the impression, more than any other, of the universal 
character of collective and domestic prayer. 

406 The sadness of the grave time in which we live, 

the increasing weakness of spirit, the need, too long felt, of bring- 
ing back to the convulsed nations the blessings of the peace they 
have banished show with the clearness innate in the teachings of 
God that to-day more than ever there is need of insistent and inces- 
sant prayer to conjure of Divine Compassion that we may be given 
a truce in the terrible course of avenging justice. 

407. After such an outpouring of blood, which has not softened 
but has increased hatred among brothers, the Month of the Rosary 
comes ardently desired and propitious for humble prayers to the 
Mother of Pity and Queen of Peace. Therefore, it is Our desire 

81 Translation from The Tablet, v. 126, pp. 500-501 (October 16, 1915)- Original 
Italian, Cwiltfr Cattolica, 1915, v. 4, pp. 239-240 (October 6, 1915)- 


[408-409] BENEDICT XV 

that in the coming month of October in every sacred .function de- 
voted to the recital of the Holy Rosary there should be added some 
special prayer for peace. So let all those pray who treasure the 
devotion of the Rosary. Day and night let them raise their arms 
to heaven } imploring pardon, brotherhood, peace. And as once 
when their leader raised his arms in prayer the chosen people 
conquered, so to-day may the Father of the faithful conquer, in his 
unfailing prayer for peace, supported by the arms of the suppliant 
band of those who treasure the devotion of Mary. 

The evils of war must not diminish the ardor of charity. 
October 10, 1915 

408. We clearly see that you are laboring like a good soldier 
of Christ. For scarcely a year having elapsed since your episcopate 
at Breslau began, although the vicissitudes of the time which are so 
grave make in the highest degree a call upon your solicitude and your 
attention, and the need for rendering assistance is so grave and so 
urgent, you think of convening a meeting of the seniors amongst 
your clergy, so that by common counsel you may the better provide 
for the general good of your diocese. This zeal of yours, Venerable 
Brother, has seemed to Us to promise the more joyous results be- 
cause it has not been dissociated from a wise choice of the matters 
to be dealt with at the meeting. Indeed you seem to have omitted 
nothing which the times demand for the fruitful government of 
your diocese: nothing which might contribute to strengthen and 
defend Catholic discipline; nothing which would stimulate the 
mind to the daily study of piety. 

409. From this, then, you understand with what glad expec- 
tation and how heartily We, by earnest prayer, as you say that you 
desire, implore the assistance of heaven for your designs and under- 
takings. And since you also beg of Us to foster, by paternal exhor- 
tation, a clear understanding and a persevering will in those who 
amongst you are wholly devoting themselves to alleviating and 
diminishing the calamities of the war, know likewise that you have 

** Translation from Rome, v. 18, p. 243 (November 20, 1915). Original Latin, 
A.A.S., v. 7, p. 475 (October 27, 1915). 


LETTER TO DUCHESS OF V E N D 6 M E [410-4!! ] 

easily obtained that from Us: in such wise, however, that instead 
of exhortation it is a pleasure for Us to bestow the most ample 
commendation and praise on the same, and in the first place on 
the clergy and on the religious of both sexes. For We prefer to 
employ these rewards and encouragements as regards those who 
have displayed so many and such great examples of Christian charity 
as you yourself mention in your letter. Owing to the prolongation 
of the war and its resulting misfortunes which are daily becoming 
more grave, the ardor of a charity so abundant and so active, so 
far from decreasing in fervor should rather become more and more 
inflamed; for there is nothing arduous which is not to be expected 
from those whose love of country is fostered by the hope of 
an enduring reward in the better life. May the Apostolic Benedic- 
tion, which very lovingly in the Lord We bestow on you, Venerable 
Brother, and on your clergy and people, be a pledge of the divine 
favors and a token of Our benevolence. . . . 


The Pope gives 30,000 francs to Belgium. 
October 31, 1915 

410. In the letter which the Sovereign Pontiff, Benedict XV, 
deigned to address to Your Royal Highness on the fourth of last 
September, His Holiness informed you of the decision which the 
Bishops of Spain had taken to send to the Holy See the results of 
collections made and offerings received in their dioceses in favor 
of the belligerent nations, and he assured you at the same time that 
he would be guided, in the apportionment of these offerings, by 
his paternal love for Belgium. 

411. Now that these offerings have been received by the Holy 
See, His Holiness has charged me with the task of sending you the 
greater part of these offerings 30,000 francs. It is most agreeable 
for me to execute this august mission to Your Highness, and to 
be able to renew in this manner the testimony of the special 
solicitude of the Sovereign Pontiff for Belgium, so sorely tried at 
present. ... ' * 

83 Original French, U Opera della Santa Sede, pp. 220-221. 

[412-413] BENEDICT XV 


Only through an honest exchange of ideas, clearly stated 
and carefully considered, can a just peace be made. 

December 6, 1915 

412 Immense ruins have been accumulating for full 

sixteen months: the desire for peace increases in every heart and 
families innumerable sigh for peace with tears. We Ourself have 
used every means that could in any way hasten peace and settle 
discords nevertheless, this fatal war continues still by land and sea, 
and now, too, is bringing utter ruin on poor Armenia. The Letter 
which We directed to the fighting peoples and their rulers on the 
anniversary of the outbreak of the war, though received indeed 
with reverence, still did not produce the happy effects which were 
expected of it. 

413. Vicar on earth of Him Who is the King of Peace and 
Prince of Peace, We cannot but be ever more deeply moved by the 
misery of so many of Our children, and ever lift Our arms in 
supplication to the God of Mercies, praying with all Our heart that 
He may deign at last to put an end with His might to this bloody 
conflict. And while We endeavor to alleviate its sad consequences, 
as far as lies in Our power, by the opportune provisions which are 
well known to you, We feel Ourself urged by Our Apostolic 
Office to teaeh once again the one and only mea^is which can lead 
without delay to the extinction of the awful conflagration. To pre- 
pare the way for peace, the peace which is ardently desired by all 
humanity, a peace that is just, lasting, and not profitable to only 
one of the fighting parties, the way which can truly lead to a happy 
result is that which has already been tried and found good in similar 
circumstances, and which We pointed out in that same Letter: that 
is to say, that in an exchange of ideas, directly or indirectly, there 
should be definitely and clearly put forward and duly weighed, with 
good-will and serene conscience, the aspirations of each one, elim- 
inating all that is unjust and impossible and taking count of all 
that is just and possible, with any arrangement and compensation 
that may be needful. Naturally, as is the case in all human con- 

84 Translation from Rome, v. 18, pp. 281-282 (December n ? 1915). Original Latin, 
A.A.S., v, 7, pp. 510-512 (December 9, 1915). 



troversies which are settled by the contending parties themselves, 
it is absolutely necessary that on one side and the other of the 
belligerents there should be concession on some point and renun- 
ciation of some hoped for gain; and each should make such con- 
cessions willingly, even if it entail some sacrifice, in order not to 
assume before God and men the enormous responsibility of the 
continuation of a carnage which is without example, and which, 
if prolonged still further, might well be for Europe the beginning 
of the decadence of that degree of civil prosperity to which the 
Christian religion had raised it. 

414. These are the feelings in Our mind regarding the war, 
considered in relation to the peoples who find themselves unhappily 
embroiled in it. If, further, we consider the inconveniences which 
the European conflict has brought in its train for the Catholic 
cause and the Apostolic See, it is evident to all how serious they 
are and how harmful to the dignity of the Roman Pontiff. More 
than once already, following in the footsteps of Our Predecessors, 
We have lamented that the situation of the Roman Pontiff was 
such as not to grant him the use of that full liberty which is abso- 
lutely necessary to him for the government of the Church. But 
who is there who does not see that this has become far more evident 
in the present circumstances? Certainly those who are governing 
Italy have not lacked the good intention to eliminate the incon- 
veniences, but that very thing shows clearly that the situation of 
the Roman Pontiff depends on the civil powers and that, with a 
change of men and circumstances, it also can be changed and made 
more difficult. No man of sense can affirm that a situation which 
is so uncertain and so subject to the will of others is indeed that 
which is suitable for the Apostolic See. Neither was it possible, 
through the very force of things, to prevent the occurrence of several 
inconveniences of evident gravity. Not to speak of others, We 
limit Ourself to calling attention to the fact that some of the 
Ambassadors or Ministers accredited to Us by their Sovereigns were 
constrained to go away in order to safeguard their personal dignity 
and the prerogatives of their office, which means* for the Holy See, 
the curtailment of a right proper and native to it and the weaken- 
ing of a necessary guarantee, as well as the deprivation of the ordi- 
nary and by far the most suitable means it is accustomed to use 
for conducting affairs with foreign governments. And in this regard 


[415-4*6] BENEDICT XV 

We have to point out with regret how on the other fighting side 
it has even been possible that there should arise the suspicion that 
We, through the necessity of things, in conducting affairs which 
concern peoples at war, allow Ourself now to be directed and 
guided only by the suggestions of those who can make their voices 
heard by Us. And what can be said of the increased difficulty of 
communications between Us and the Catholic world, which makes 
it so hard for Us to form the complete and exact judgment of events 
which indeed would be so useful to Us? 

415. We think, Venerable Brothers, that what We have said 
up to now will suffice to show you how Our grief grows from day 
to day, since while this holocaust of men, worthy of more barbarous 
ages, grows fearfully, at the same time the situation of the Apostolic 
See becomes worse. We are certain that, as you share in the cares 
and anxieties which the Apostolic Office lays on Us, so you par- 
ticipate in this Our double affliction 

LETTER Communem Vestram TO THE BISHOPS OF GALiciA. 85 

He comforts them in the trials of war. 
December 10, 1915 

416. Your common letter is recommended to Us by that ex- 
pression of devotion and homage, which We know that not only 
the bishops of Catholic Poland, but the clergy and people also, 
have been exemplary in tendering. But do not think, Venerable 
Brothers, that We wish to yield to you in love. For an old and 
quite singular charity toward your nation resides in Our heart; 
and how wonderfully it is now increased even by those manifold 
and grave calamities whereby, owing to this war, We see you almost 
overwhelmed. To these latter We have, as you know, turned Our 
paternal consideration, grieving for one thing only, that Our favors 
have not gone as far as have gone the desires of a heart the most 
loving. Never, however, do We omit to pray God Who is rich in 
mercy so to be present with you, Venerable Brethren, and with all 
Poland, as to temper the bitterness of these days and to fulfill all 
your lawful desires. . . . 

85 Translation from Rome, v. 19, p. 52 (January 29, 1916). Original Latin, A.A.S,, 
v - 7> PP. 591-592 (December 3i,-i9i5). 




The Catholics of Hungary promise to pray for peace. 
December 12, 1915 

417. You both bewail the sorrows of this war and carefully 
recall what We, urged by the charity of Christ, have done to lessen 
and mitigate its calamities; and you promise every day to recom- 
mend more earnestly to God by devout prayer the common desires 
for peace. In your letter and courtesies there is nothing wanting 
of those things which the devotion of the most loving brothers 
could desire; and these We both accept with gratitude and with 
like exchange of affection repay, bestowing very lovingly in the 
Lord on all of you, Our Beloved Son and Venerable Brothers, and 
on the flocks, over whom your care and zeal keep guard, the 
Apostolic Benediction, a pledge of heavenly gifts and a testimony 
of Our benevolence. 



Prayer is the only hope for peace. 
December 24, 1915 

418. It is only too true that a cloud of sadness darkens, this 
year, the happy celebration of the Nativity; and you. Lord Cardinal, 
expressing in the name of the Sacred College the thoughts inspired 
by this joyous anniversary, have not been able to suppress in your 
words the note of the general mourning. We are confronted to-day 
again with the savage spectacle of human slaughter; and if, last 
year, We deplored the extent, the ferocity, and all the results of 
this tremendous conflict, We must to-day mourn over the wider 
spread, the greater pertinacity, the excess, which, with their terrible 
consequences, have turned the world to an ossuary and a hospital, 

86 Translation from Rome, v, 19, p. 64 (February 5, 1916). Original Latin, A.A.S., 

v. 7, P- 593 (December 31, 1915). 

87 Translation from The Tablet, Y. 127, pp. 6-7 (January i, 1916). Original Italian, 

Civilta Cattolica, 1916, v. i, pp. 212-214 (January 8, 1916). 


[4I9-4 22 ] BENEDICT XV 

and the progress of human civilization to an anti-Christian retro- 

419. All this notwithstanding, you, Lord Cardinal, raising your 
eyes to the higher regions of faith, have found in this festivity a 
motive of good wishes for Our person, of consolation for the 
afflicted, of hope for the future of mankind. Grateful for your 
homage, thankful for the noble expression of your good will, We 
join earnestly and with fatherly accord in the aspirations of the 
Sacred College toward a time to come that shall prove less fatal 
for the Pontiff, for the Church, for civilization. And We accept 
the expression of that hope all the more joyfully in that We read 
therein not only a comforting increase of filial affection, but also 
the need of more intense and urgent prayer and supplication, up- 
raised in the midst of tumult by the whole Sacred College keenly 
aware of the extremity of our common need to Him Who alone 
is able to quell the tempest. These prayers, We declare to you with 
full sincerity, give Us more comfort than any other testimony of 
your devotion. 

420. And oh! how many times in the months past of Our 
Pontificate, months made so weary by the long delay of any sign 
of cessation in this human conflict, has Our heart sought refuge 
in prayer as in the only hope of safety! If God does not give succor, 
what is there that We can do? In truth, there is nothing. 

421. Called to the government of the Church in the most ter- 
rible days in all history, We fondly hoped that the love of the 
father might not prove altogether unfruitful for his unhappy sons. 
But ohl vain hope! During all the sixteen months of this effort 
of Our love We have seen it to be almost entirely sterile. That voice 
of Ours, obedient to the precept, Clama, ne cesses, We intended 
should never hold its peace until it should find an echo in softened 
human hearts; but too often has it fallen into vacancy, a voice 
clatnantis in deserto. And what of that good, of those ideals, which 
We loved to think We might be the means of furthering in the 
civil and the religious commonwealth? Far otherwise! Every wish, 
every hope, every project has been shattered. Indeed here also We 
have been compelled to confess Ourself powerless. 

422. Yet Our faith is all unshaken. Hearkening to those divine 
words whereby in like straits Our Lord Jesus Christ showed His 
followers that way in which now more than ever we, too, need to 


E PUR TROPPO VERO [423-425] 

be guided, We cherish at heart, as the Apostle of the Gentiles 
cherished it, one great hope against all human hope. In spem contra 
spem, and in God, in God alone, do We put Our whole trust, in- 
vincibly sustained by the omnipotent promise contained in that 
serene reproof, Modicae fidei, quart dubitasti? He, let us be certain, 
will glorify His Name, saving us ex hac hora, even if for a time 
He reply, as the heavens replied to the words of Jesus, with light- 
nings and thunder, and if for a time He repeat, Nunc judicium 
est mundi. 

423. This faith, alive in Our heart every day of the year, is 
stronger and more certain when a dear anniversary brings vividly 
to Our thoughts the reassuring sight of that which took place in 
the cave of Bethlehem. For Us it is not a vain record, an empty 
recollection, but a real and true renewal of the ineffable Mystery, 
and thus a source of hope infallible; for here is a return of that 
date when even the barbaric pagan world being at peace the 
King of Peace Himself came among men in the most peaceful of 
all forms. Oh, with what good cause may We now rehearse, even 
in the distraction of the present hour, the words of Pope St. Leo, 
Neque enim fas est locum esse tristitiae ubi natalis est vitae! 

424. The sight of Christ, born for us, is made complete, more- 
over, by the sight of Mary, in whom the faith of believers and the 
love of sons recognize, not only Mediatrix of Peace, but also 
Mediatrix between rebellious man and merciful God. She is the 
aurora pads rutilans across the darkness of this world. She fails 
not in her plea to her Son, albeit nondum venerit hora ejus. And 
she who has not failed to plead for suffering mankind in the hour 
of peril will surely hasten to meet our supplications, Mother of so 
many orphans, Advocate for us all in our tremendous ruin. 

425. Therefore, with this great purpose, not less than with the 
intention of guiding Christian thought and Christian faith to the 
prevailing ministry of, the Mother of God, We, echoing the sigh of 
many of Our children far and near, permit that to the Litany 
of Loreto be added the invocation, "Queen of Peace." Will Mary, 
who is queen not of wars and slaughter, but of the kingdom of 
peace, disappoint the trust and the prayers of her faithful children? 
Will she, in the most blessed night when, fulfilling prophecies 'and 
promises of happy and golden days, she gave us the Celestial Babe 
who is the Author o all peace, not smile upon the prayers of chil- 

[426-428] BENEDICT XV 

dren called by the episcopate and by Ourself to the holy Eucharistic 
Table to honor this most beloved festival ? When man has hardened 
his own heart, and his hates have overrun the earth; when fire and 
sword are raging, and when the world rings with the sound of 
weeping and the noise of arms; when human reason is found at 
fault, and all civilized rights are scattered like thistledown, faith 
and history alike point us to the one succor, to the omnipotence 
of prayer, to the Mediatrix, to Mary. In all security and trust we 
cry, Regina pads, or a pro no bis. 

426. It is this confidence that inspires Us in returning the mes- 
sage of the Sacred College and in wishing you, Lord Cardinal, and 
all your eminent colleagues a speedy and an ample possession of 
the fruits of that peace which We hope to obtain through the inter- 
cession of the Virgin. Oh, may this blessed Jesus, Who at the prayer 
of His Mother did the first of His miracles, accept to-day once 
more the intercession of the heavenly Mediatrix, and comfort His 
Christian family with that abundance of graces, a pledge whereof 
We desire to give by this Apostolic Benediction. We here bestow 
it with fatherly affection upon the Sacred College, upon the bishops 
and prelates here present, and upon all, clergy and laity, who have 
proved to Us that dear sons are not far in heart from the father in 
the hour of mourning and of grief. 


Cardinal Gasparri sends money to be distributed to 
the German prisoners in Russia. 

December 25, 1915 

427. At the invitation of and following upon the appeal of the 
German Bishops, collections have been made in all their dioceses 
in behalf of the prisoners who are interned there. 

428. Certainly in these offerings the German Catholics have 
not been able to forget their fellow countrymen who are captives 

88 Original French, UOpera delta Santa Sede, p. 225. Similar documents, not included 
in this book, concerning relief for Germany, are: Letter of Cardinal Gasparri to the 
Apostolic Nuncio in Bavaria, July 21, 1915 (L 'Opera della Santa Sede, p. 216). 
Letter of Cardinal Gasparri to Bishop Bludau of Warmia, September u, 1915 
(op. cit,, pp. 218-219). Letter of Cardinal Gasparri to Bishop Cieplak of Mohilew, 
December 21, 1915 (op. cit., pp. 224-225). 




in Russia. And so I have the honor and the pleasure of sending 
to Your Excellency the enclosed sum of 28,800 Italian lire destined 
for the relief of all German prisoners who are interned in Russia, 
without distinction of religion. 

429. Begging Your Excellency to see, with your customary 
kindness, that the aforesaid sum reaches His Lordship, John Baptist 
Cieplak, Suffragan Bishop of Mohilew, together with my letter 
which accompanies this communication, I offer you my anticipated 
thanks, and I beg Your Excellency to accept the assurance of my 
highest esteem. 


Cardinal Gasparri tells of papal solicitude for the suf- 
fering Ruthenian Catholics. 

January 29, 1916 

430. The Holy Father has received from His Eminence, Car- 
dinal Falconio, the letter wherein Your Excellency implored the 
intervention of the Holy See in behalf of the Ruthenians so harshly 
tried by the war, and the three thousand lire which Your Excellency 
and Your faithful have offered for Peter's Pence. 

431. His Holiness, who entertains a special and most ardent 
affection for the Ruthenian Catholics, has vouchsafed to accept with 
pleasure the aforesaid offering. He has shown paternal gratifica- 
tion with the zeal with which Your Excellency and the faithful 
entrusted to your care undertook the collection of funds necessary 
for alleviating the miseries and the sufferings of their brethren in 
Europe. So, in order to console Your Excellency and your flock 
and in order that your flock may be further stimulated in its chosen 
work of truly fraternal Christian charity, the Holy Father has 
ordered me to inform Your Excellency that the Holy See, an- 
ticipating the requests now submitted to her, has not hesitated to 
do everything in her power to come to the aid of her suffering 
Ruthenian children. 

432. In fact, through the agency of the Cardinal Apostolic Pro- 

89 Original Italian, L'Opera ddla Santa Sede, p. 226. 


[433-435] BENEDICT XV 

Nuncio of Vienna, she has already distributed ten thousand crowns 
in behalf of those Ruthenians who have been more sharply hit by 
the vicissitudes of the war. In itself, this is only a small amount; 
but, in view of the current economic conditions and of the countless 
staggering necessities which she has to take care of especially in 
the present circumstances, the sum is large. 

433. The Holy See did not fail to take an active and eager 
interest in the lot of Msgr. Szeptysky, the Greek-Ruthenian Arch- 
bishop of Leopolis. She interceded for him repeatedly and sought 
in vain to get him a permit to go to Canada to exercise his ministry 
among the faithful of his rite residing there. 

434. Besides this, she has not missed an opportunity to remon- 
strate against the war-time occupation by non-Catholics of churches 
belonging to the Ruthenian Catholics. Lastly, she has provided 
spiritual assistance for the faithful of this rite who are refugees 
from Galicia and Bucovina and are now scattered throughout the 
Austrian Empire, assigning them as Apostolic Administrator the 
Most Reverend Father Platonide Filas, Provincial of the Basilian 
Order in Galicia 


The principles of the natural law must be observed in 
the case of the Jews as well as of all others. 

February 9, 1916 

435. The Supreme Pontiff has with interest taken cognizance 
of the letter you have been pleased to address to him, dated Decem- 
ber 30, 1915. In the name of three million Israelite citizens of the 
United States of America, you turn to His Holiness to complain 
in general of the ill-treatment your co-religionists in various coun- 
tries complain they are exposed to, and at the same time you beg 
him to intervene "with the weight of his supreme moral and 
spiritual power, for the purpose of putting an end at last to these 

90 Translation from The Tablet, v. 127, p. 565 (April 29, 1916). Original Italian, 
Civiltb Cattolica, 1916, v. 2, pp. 358-359 (April 28, 1916). This petition of the 
American Jewish Committee besought the Holy Father to use his great moral and 
spiritual influence in behalf of the Jews of Poland, who were suffering unnecessary 
cruelties due to the war. 


sufferings by an act of that humanity to which the Holy Father 
is so passionately devoted." The Supreme Pontiff is not in a< posi- 
tion to pronounce on the specific facts mentioned in the memoran- 
dum attached to your letter; but, on principle, as Head of the 
Catholic Church, which, faithful to its divine doctrine and to its 
most glorious traditions, considers all men as brothers and teaches 
them to love one another, he never ceases to inculcate among in- 
dividuals, as well as among peoples, the observance of the princi- 
ples of the natural law and to condemn everything which violates 
them. This law must be observed and respected in the case of the 
children of Israel, as well as of all others, because it would not 
be conformable to justice or to religion itself to derogate from it 
solely on account of divergence of religious confessions. The Su- 
preme Pontiff at this moment feels in his fatherly heart, torn by the 
spectacle of the present horrible war, more painfully than ever 
the necessity for all men of remembering that they are brothers, 
and that their salvation lies in their return to the law of love which 
is the law of the Gospel. Hence, he desires to interest with himself 
in this noble purpose all those who, especially by reason of the 
sacred attributions of their pastoral ministry, are in a position to 
render efficacious help in attaining this important result. Mean- 
while His Holiness rejoices in the harmony which reigns in the 
United States in the civil relations between the members of the vari- 
ous religious confessions, and which contributes so powerfully to 
the peaceful prosperity of your great country. His Holiness prays 
God that peace may at last return for the happiness of that humanity 
of which, as you have with good reason said, His Holiness is always 
the loving guardian. . . . 


The Holy Father protests against the bombing of open 
and undefended cities. 

February 17, 1916 

436. I have not failed to make known to the August Pontiff 
the accurate report sent to me by Your Grace on the 1401 of this 

91 Translation from The Tablet, v. 127, p. 309 (March 4, 1916). Original Italian, 
U Opera ddla Santa Sede, p. 41. 


month, concerning the recent bombardment of your city by enemy 
aviators. This fresh incursion has not only brought grief to many 
families and to a whole city, but has caused keen sorrow to the 
heart of the Holy Father, who feels deep sympathy for the innocent 
victims, and at the same time is afflicted for the dangers and damages 
which your famous monuments have incurred. His Holiness, as 
vigilant guardian of the supreme interests of religion, of history 
and of the arts, has not failed to repeat his paternal and insistent 
recommendations to the Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian 
Government that the war be conducted in conformity with the 
recognized principles, by virtue of which open and undefended 
cities are to be respected, and the monuments and churches which 
form their precious treasure are to be safeguarded from all harm. 
The Holy Father would have liked to do more: he would have 
desired that in the Italo-Austrian War the throwing of bombs from 
areoplanes should have been suppressed altogether, and if it has 
not been possible to attain this noble aim, I can assure Your Grace 
that this has not been at all due to want of warm interest on the 
part of the Common Father of all the faithful, but to reasons which 
I shall be able to explain orally to Your Grace when the opportunity 
offers. Kindly make known in the name of the Holy Father all 
the affectionate condolence which His Holiness cherishes for the 
unhappy families of the poor victims and the fervent prayers which 
His Holiness offers up for the deceased. . . . 


OF ROME. 92 

The Pope as%s the -faithful to offer prayers, sacrifices 
and alms during Lent for the return of peace. 

March 4, 1916 

* 437. To the tremendous conflict now rending Europe asunder, 
We, as the universal Shepherd of Souls, cannot, without failing in 
the duty imposed upon Us by the sublime mission of peace and 
love entrusted to Us by God, remain indifferent, nor can We wit- 
ness it in silence. Thus, from the earliest days of Our pontificate, 

U2 Translation from The Tablet, v. 127, p. 335 (March n, 1916). Original Italian, 
A.A.S., v. 8, pp. 58-60 (March 4, 1916). 



in the anguish of Our heart before this cruel spectacle, We urged 
repeatedly Our exhortations and Our counsels upon the contend- 
ing nations, in order to induce them to lay down their arms, and 
to settle their dissensions, according to the requirements of human 
dignity, by pacific consultation. Throwing Ourself as it were among 
the belligerents, as a father might do between sons at strife, We 
have entreated them, in the name of that God Who is Himself Love 
Infinite, to renounce the purpose of mutual destruction, to declare 
clearly once for all, whether directly or indirectly, what are the 
aims and objects of each nation, bearing in mind, as far as is just 
and practicable, the several national aspirations, but accepting, where 
need is, for the sake of equal good in the general commonwealth 
of nations, whatever sacrifice of self-love or selfish interest may be 
demanded. That was, that is, the only way to calm this monstrous 
conflict according to the dictates of justice, and to reach a peace 
profitable not to one alone of the contending parties, but to all, and 
thus a peace equitable and lasting. 

438. It is too true that Our paternal counsels have hitherto been 
unheeded, and the war with all its horrors rages on. Nevertheless, 
Lord Cardinal, We may not, We must not, be silent. It is not per- 
mitted to a father whose sons are in deadly conflict, to cease, because 
they resist his entreaty and reject his tears, from calling upon them. 
You are aware, however, that if Our repeated cry for peace has 
been ineffectual, it has not been without a soothing echo deep in 
the hearts of the people of the belligerent countries, and indeed 
of the whole world, and has aroused an acute and instant desire 
for the speedy ending of this sanguinary strife. Therefore, it is not 
possible for Us to abstain from raising Our voice yet once more 
against a war which seems to Us to be the suicide of civilized 
Europe. We must not cease, when occasion serves, from pointing 
to any means whatsoever that may be within reach, in the hope of 
attaining to the much-desired end. 

439. And occasion is provided Us to-day by certain religious 
women, who have informed Us of their intention of joining in 
spiritual union for prayer and self-denial, with the hope of obtain- 
ing from the infinite mercy of God the withdrawal of this scourge. 
Such a project could not but be most acceptable to Us, who have 
ever insisted upon diligent prayer and Christian penance as the 
only refuge for Our own heart and for every human heart in the 


[440-44 1 ] BENEDICT XV 

time of this horrible fratricidal war, and as the one effectual means 
for obtaining from God the peace for which We sigh. We have, 
therefore, blessed this enterprise with all the warmth of Our fatherly 
heart, and We give it public praise, wishing that all the faithful 
may make it their own. We trust that not only in Rome, but in 
the whole of Italy and in the belligerent countries, Catholic families, 
especially in the time consecrated by the Church to Christian 
penance, will withdraw themselves from worldly shows and amuse- 
ments, and join in such an increase of fervent prayer and of the 
practice of- Christian mortification as may commend to Our Lord 
the desires of His children, and express at such a time as this the 
longing of every honest heart. We make a special appeal to all 
women who are mothers, wives, .daughters, sisters of combatants, 
and whose tender and gentle souls, more truly than those of any 
others, feel the extent and the calamity of the present terrific war, 
so that their example and their sweet influence in the home may 
induce all members of their families to raise to God in this "accept- 
able time" and in this "day of salvation" one urgent and continuous 
prayer, and to lay at the foot of His heavenly throne an offering 
of voluntary sacrifices that shall turn aside the most just anger of 
God. It would be greatly pleasing to Us that such families among 
all combatant nations should unite in this undertaking on the day 
that is held sacred to the sublime Sacrifice of Him Who was God 
and Man, and who by His own suffering drew together in brother- 
hood all the sons of Adam; that they should, in those hours made 
eternally memorable by His infinite love, beseech of Him, through 
the intercession of the suffering but unconquered Mother, Queen 
of Martyrs, the grace to endure with fortitude and Christian resig- 
nation the anguish of loss brought about by the war, and that they 
should implore of His mercy the end of this long and terrible trial. 

440. And since through almsgiving sins are expiated and 
heaven is propitiated, We desire that each family should offer, in 
proportion to its possessions, the alms of charity in favor of the 
poor and the afflicted, so dear to Jesus, our Redeemer, and more par- 
ticularly for the relief of the unhappy children of those fallen in 
this horrible war. 

441. In the hope,, finally, "that to this enterprise of Christian 
piety may be gathered urged thereto by human compassion, and 
yet more strongly by the supernatural charity that must unite the 



children of one Heavenly Father the families also of neutral States, 
We bestow upon you. Lord Cardinal, and upon all these Catholic 
women and their families, Our Apostolic Benediction. 

The Holy Father sends relief to the Serbian people. 
March 13, 1916 

442. The Holy Father, grieved by the extremely sad plight of 
the Serbian people, has vouchsafed to send to them a charitable 
subsidy of ten thousand lire. Will Your Eminence be so good as 
to distribute this sum in behalf of the aforesaid people in the name 
of His Holiness? Do it in whatever way Your Eminence thinks 


The Pope sends relief to the suffering people of 

March 13, 1916 

443. The Holy Father, upon learning of the sad conditions in 
which the inhabitants of Lithuania are now living, has vouchsafed 
to send them a charitable subsidy of ten thousand lire. Will Your 
Eminence be so good as to distribute this sum in behalf of the 
Lithuanian people in the name of His Holiness? Do it in what- 
ever way Your Eminence thinks best 


Benedict XV as\s permission of the British Govern- 
ment for the transportation of food from America to 
the starving inhabitants of Poland. 

March 24, 1916 

444. We are well acquainted with the generous work under- 
taken in favor of Belgium by the American Commission for Relief 

93 Original Italian, U Opera della Santa Sede, p. 228. 

94 Original Italian, L'Opera della Santa Sede t p. 229. 

95 Original French, UOpera della Santa Sede, p. 138. 


[445-448] BENEDICT XV 

in Belgium, with the mutual consent of England and Germany. 
The noteworthy services rendered by this Committee and which 
it still continues to render to the Belgian people in the present dis- 
tressing circumstances are matters of public knowledge* 

445. No less sad is the present situation in Poland, where the 
extreme penury of food supplies of absolute necessity exposes the 
civilian population of this country to the most terrible sufferings. 
That is why the Polish hierarchy and the General Committee for 
Aid to War-Victims in Poland have addressed the most insistent 
and moving pleas to the Holy See so that the Holy Father is ex- 
tremely anxious of intervening in some way in favor of this unfor- 
tunate nation. 

446. The Sovereign Pontiff, whose heart is open to all unfor- 
tunates, has not been able to remain deaf to the pleas of his sons, 
the inhabitants of this very noble country. Consequently, he has 
deigned to charge the undersigned Cardinal Secretary of State to 
make an ardent appeal, through the gracious intermediation of Your 
Excellency, to the Government of His 'Britannic Majesty, confident 
that the latter, inspired by his lofty sentiments of humanity, will 
presently allow, as has been so successfully done with regard to 
Belgium, the purchase and transportation from America to Poland 
of all that is necessary for the subsistence of these people. . . . 


He urges them to visit the Austro-Hungarian prison- 
ers in their dioceses. 

March 31, 1916 

447. His Holiness, with burning and unceasing concern, de- 
sires, as much as circumstances permit, to soothe the wounds and 
the sufferings caused by this horrible war. Hence, he has a fatherly 
interest in the poor Austro-Hungarian prisoners detained in Italy 
and wishes to reach them with an august word of comfort. 

448. Therefore, supposing that in these dioceses there may be 
quartered groups of captured prisoners, the Holy Father entrusts 
to Your Eminence (and to Your Excellencies) the charitable mis- 

U6 Original Italian, U Opera della Santa Sede, pp. 240-241. 



sion to visit them in his name in order to comfort them and to 
make manifest to them the affectionate solicitude of his heart. 
449. His Holiness asks that, after you have fulfilled this pon- 
tifical mission, you will send me a short account to submit to His 
Holiness about the material and moral conditions of the prison- 


The Holy Father protests against the airplane bomb- 
ing of T revise. 

April 26, 1916 

450. His Holiness, who has raised his august voice more than 
once against the use which is being made in this horrible war of 
means of offense so harmful to the pacific and innocent part of 
the belligerent nations, deplores that his fatherly exhortations find 
the hearts of his children hardened, and are broken against the 
dominant calculations of this terrible conflict. Sharing, then, in the 
bitter grief of your beloved city, and especially in the affliction 
which fills the heart of its bishop, His Holiness sorrowfully laments 
the unhappy victims who have been hurled into eternity in such 
a tragic way, and for them he prays God for that peace which the 
world cannot give, offering at the same time words of comfort 
and hope for the poor wounded, for whom he implores from 
heaven the recovery they desire and that strength which only the 
Christian can know amid the most sorrowful trials. . . . 


The practice of Christian social action must prepare 
the way for a lasting peace. 

May 22, 1916 

451. The letter which you sent Us when you were recently 
gathered at Milan not only carried your words and wishes but ex- 

97 Translation from The Tablet, v. 127, pp. 597-598 (May 6, 1916). We have been 

unable to locate the original of this document. 

98 Original Latin, A.A.S., v. 8, p. 261 (August i, 1916). 


[452-453] BENEDICT XV 

pressed your mind in such a way that it showed that you were 
most united with Us in zeal and obedience and every kind of duty. 
Your wishes are the wishes of peace, and you write that you will 
beg this peace from God so that with the auspices and help of the 
Apostolic See it may as soon as possible be consecrated by the kiss 
of justice and charity. There is scarcely anything which in the midst 
of such troubled affairs may be more hoped for by those who are 
dominated by the related love of religion and country; and be 
assured that you will act with very great wisdom if, as is your plan, 
you with particular care embrace social action in a Christian way. 
For even now the masses must be won over to it; our forces must 
be united and strengthened by the discipline of religion in such a 
way that Catholics themselves may be able to enjoy with greater 
security the benefits of peace when it has been won. . . . 


The papacy has always championed the cause of peace. 
June, 1916 

452. Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XV, has been deeply 
touched by the sentiments so nobly expressed in your collective 
letter of March 20 last. You have been moved at the thought of 
the anxieties and heart sorrows of the August Pontiff before the 
immensity of the catastrophies of the terrible war. You express 
your gratitude to the Pope, God's minister of peace, for having 
seized every opportunity to plead the cause of the pacification of 
the world by a peace founded on justice and right. It is with 
reason that you recall the secular role of the Roman Pontiff, medi- 
ator between peoples, born defender of just causes, guardian of 
morality, law and civilization. As Universal Pastor of Souls the Pope 
has received in deposit the evangelical doctrine of peace and justice, 
and history bears eloquent testimony to the sovereign prestige, to 
the moderating and pacifying action of the Papacy along the ages. 

453. So, too, Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XV, has assumed 
with a great heart this traditional role and obeying that precept 

99 Translation from Rome, v. 19, p. 302 (June 24, 1916). Unfortunately we have been 
unable to find the original text of this letter nor do we know its exact date, 



of the Bible, Clama ne cesses f m he desires to render possible a peace 
which may solve with equity and wisdom the formidable complex- 
ity of problems which have been raised up in the world. While 
guiding souls towards their heavenly home he considers it a duty 
of his charge to work and pray that quarrels, hatred and sanguinary 
rivalries may cease and peace and concord be restored to the city 
of nations. 

454. Making myself the interpreter of the gratitude of His 
Holiness for your action so generously and so loftily inspired I beg 
you to accept the expression of my devoted sentiments. . . . 


Transfer of French children into Germany protested. 
June 7, 1916 

455. According to certain reports recently communicated to the 
Holy Se'e, the Imperial German Authorities of the occupied regions 
of France are supposed to have deported into Germany during 
these last few months various groups of young people of both 
sexes mixed together, with no regard for the norms of justice and 
morality, thus causing grief to parents and the whole people. 

456. Even though the Holy See has no proof of such a fact, 
which would be a very serious accusation against the administration 
of these same Authorities, yet desiring to possess some more posi- 
tive facts with which to respond to the above mentioned informers, 
I ... beg you to gather precise news of this matter and kindly to 
send it to me. ... 


European children are as\ed to receive Communion 
for the Holy Father's intention i.e., peace. 

June 26, 1916 

457. His Holiness, Benedict XV, by Divine Providence Pope, 
who has greatly at heart the devout and rigorous observance of the 

Isaias, LVIII, I. 

101 Original Italian, L' Opera della Santa Sede, p. 250. 

102 Translation from The Tablet, v. 128, p. 49 (July 8, 1916). Original Latin, 

v. 8, p. 217 (July 7, 1916). 


[458-459] BENEDICT XV 

Decrees, Sacra Tridentina Synodus and Quam Singulari, of his 
Predecessor, Pius X, of happy memory, on the report of me, the un- 
dersigned Secretary of State, has been pleased to ordain, on the ap- 
proach of the second anniversary of the great calamity, as follows : 
All the Ordinaries of places in Europe are to provide with all 
solicitude that on July 30th this year, which falls on a Sunday, in 
all the churches and oratories under their respective jurisdiction, 
the children of both sexes shall, in the most solemn form possible, 
approach the Holy Table for the intention of the Holy Father. . . . 


The Bis fiops of Haiti have appreciated the papal efforts 
for peace. 

July 4, 1916 

458. In your letter which you sent to Us after a recent assem- 
bly, We see, as it were, an expressed image of your filial devotion 
toward the Holy See. We understand how We stand with you, 
for you are striving to guard and to strengthen the bonds of friend- 
ship which bind Us; you gratefully recall the charity We have 
expended upon you and your nation; and you acknowledge what 
We did in Apostolic solicitude to promote peace and to remove the 
terrors of war 


The Holy Father places unbounded trust in their pray- 
ers for peace. 

July 30, 1916 

459. It is indeed both just and natural that to the appeal sent 
out by Us to all the children of Europe that on this day, the anni- 
versary of an unhappy event, they should approach the Holy 
Eucharisdc Table both in great numbers and with great fervor, 
the children of this Our Rome should be the first to correspond. 

108 Original Latin, A.A.S., v. 8, p. 308 (September i, 1916). 

104 Translation from The Tablet, v. 128, p. 216 (August 12, 1916). Original Italian, 
Civiltb Cattolica, 1916, v. 3, pp. 395-396 (August 10, 1916). 


ERA BEN GIUSTO [460-461] 

Nearest to the heart of the Vicar of Christ, they see his needs from 
close at hand, they best know his aspirations, his sorrows; born 
citizens of Rome they feel, even at their tender age, the pulsations 
of that heart of the world, the Papal See; descendants of their 
glorious ancestors in our Faith, they have in their veins the blood 
of Tarcisius, which lifts their hearts to the Sacrament of the Altar 
in which lives all reason of their faith and of their life as Romans. 
So We are grateful to you, Lord Cardinal, for having given Us 
the pleasure of being able to see this elect and numerous band of 
children who from the Altar and Table of the invisible God have 
come to Us, who perpetuate visibly the Authority and the Person 
of Christ; and We see them here, breathing sincerity and love, 
bringing to Us their simple hearts still warm with divine affection; 
We hear them open in salutation to Us their pure young lips, still 
resonant with that supreme prayer which We desired should ac- 
company the universal Communion. 

460. Often have We asked Ourselves, sadly, if perchance the 
life which human society is today living, far indeed from the field 
of battle but not far from the consequent horrors of the war, is not 
utterly out of keeping with the spirit of Christian mortification 
which is so imperiously suggested by the conditions of the times. 
And, indeed, We have had to reply that the desolation, which a 
second time, according to the words of Scripture, is laying desolate 
every land, does not appear depicted on men's faces; and, indeed, 
notwithstanding calls to recollection and penitence arising from so 
many disasters, grown-up people cannot separate themselves from 
the pleasures o modern life. 

461. Trembling, therefore, for the salvation of the human race, 
but yet not despairing of the pity of Him Who made the peoples 
so that they could be healed, We take refuge in the thought and 
hope that it may please the infinite goodness of the Divine Father 
to consider not so much the penitence of the adults as the innocence 
of the little ones. So We have turned to you, children, who just 
as you hold *all the affection of your parents, you assuage their 
sufferings, you are their future, so you hold, too, the very special 
affection of the Father of the faithful; you sweeten his bitternesses, 
in you lie his hopes 


[462-463] BENEDICT XV 


Energetic protest against the confiscation of the Palazzo 
di Venezia, the residence of the Austrian Ambassador 
to the Vatican. 

August 30, 1916 

462. The undersigned, Secretary of State of His Holiness, begs 
to call the attention of Your Excellency to the Decree by which the 
Italian Government has established that on the date of publication 
of said Decree (August 25, 1916) the Palazzo di Venezia, in Rome, 
becomes the property of the State. The polemics on the subject 
which had appeared in the Press by license of the said Government 
during the preceding days were an indication of the imminence of 
this serious determination, inasmuch as, although the Government 
could have checked them, it did not do so. Only on August 26, 
at about ten o'clock in the morning, was the information brought 
on behalf of the Italian Government to the Holy Father, and 
he has lost no time in expressing his disapproval of the fact already 
accomplished. The Holy See does not intend at the present mo- 
ment to consider whether the motives given in the Decree are suffi- 
cient to justify the taking possession of the Palazzo di Venezia, either 
in respect to moral law or international right. Similarly, the Holy 
See abstains from any consideration as to whether that taking pos- 
session is prudent, as it might provoke grave reprisals on the part 
of the adversary, and as to whether it is to be regarded as a political 
act of a nature to increase or diminish the good name and prestige 
of Italy before peaceful and impartial men of any country and 
before history. But the Holy See cannot fail to point out the viola- 
tion of its most sacred rights resulting from this measure. 

463. The Palazzo di Venezia is in fact the habitual residence 
of the Ambassador of His Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty to 
the Holy See, and his actual absence does not take from the palace 
this character, inasmuch as it is only temporary, and caused simply 
by the abnormal circumstances due to the war. ... 

105 Translation from The Tablet, v. 128, pp. 505-506 (October 14, 1916). Original 
Italian, Ctvilta Cattolica> 1916, v. 4, pp. 237-238 (October 13, 1916). 



LETTER Commisso Divinitus Nobis TO CARDINAL BEGIN, ARCH- 

The Pope urgently recommends mutual concord 
among the faithful in Canada. 

September 8, 1916 

464. The office divinely entrusted to Us of feeding the Lord's 
flock strongly impels Us to endeavor with all Our strength to com- 
pose any differences among the children of the Church which en- 
danger peace and union among them. For what could be more 
hurtful to the Catholic name, or what more foreign to the divine 
precepts and to the principles of the Church than that factions 
should exist among the faithful of Christ? . . . 

465., Wherefore, Venerable Brothers, We are very deeply con- 
cerned by the disputes which have been raging for some years back 
among the Catholics of your country, whose faith and piety in other 
respects is a matter of common knowledge. That these disputes 
are daily becoming more acute and that they are publicly known, 
We learn in numerous and sure ways, as well as from what you 
have told Us. 

466. The cause of the trouble is evident. Among the Catholics 
of Canada some are descended from the French and use the French 
language, others though descended from various nationalities use 
English, and this has produced disputes and contentions among 

467. Would that all these points were being debated calmly and 
peaceably! But, as though the cause of nationality or religion were 
at stake, they are agitated with such bitterness in newspapers and 
periodicals, in bpoks and pamphlets, in private conversations and in 
public speeches, that opinions have grown more and more inflamed 
and excited, and the dissension between both sides is becoming 
daily mpre irremediable. 

468. To provide suitable remedies for this great inconvenience, 
We are pleased to communicate Our design to you, Venerable 
Brothers, whom We know to, be most closely united to Us. Take 
it for certain that you will be acting in accordance with Our dearest 

10S Translation from Rome, v. 20, pp, 239-241 (November 18, 1916). Original Latin, 
A.A.S., v. 8, pp. 389-393 (November 3, 1916). 


[469-472] BENEDICT XV 

wishes if you put forth every effort to restore, with the gifts of 
peace and charity, harmony and union among the faithful entrusted 
to your charge. . . . 

469. And if the faithful in your country are divided in opinion 
by reason of race and nationality, and "the vessels of flesh are 
straightened," it is necessary, so Augustine , argues, that "the spaces 
of charity be widened." 107 And if it is not possible to reach an 
agreement on all points according to what is good and fair and by 
means of the law of charity alone, there are those in the Church, 
placed by the Holy Ghost, to judge and whose decisions the faithful 
ought to obey if they wish to be of Christ and not to be regarded 
as the heathen and the publican. 

470. To settle, therefore, the controversies which exist among 
Canadian Catholics on the rights of the two languages and their 
use in the churches and the Catholic schools, is a matter belonging 
to the bishops, and especially to those who are at the head of dio- 
ceses in which the dispute is most warmly carried on. Hence, We 
exhort them to meet together, to consider and weigh carefully this 
most important subject, and, having in view only the cause of 
Christ and the salvation of souls, to lay down and decree such 
decisions as shall seem just and opportune. Should it happen, for 
any reason, that the question cannot be settled and finished by their 
sentence, they are to bring it before this Apostolic See, which will 
so solve the case according to the law of justice and charity that 
the faithful may for the future observe peace and mutual affection, 
as becometh saints. 

471. In the meanwhile, newspapers and periodicals which glory 
in the name of Catholic must not foster discord among the faith- 
ful or anticipate the judgment of the Church; those who write for 
them will be acting in a manner worthy of their profession by 
remaining patiently and modestly silent, and by dedicating them- 
selves to the work of soothing animosities. Let the faithful also 
refrain from treating this question in public meetings, in speeches, 
and in Catholic gatherings; for otherwise it is almost inevitable that 
speakers will be carried away by party zeal and only add new fuel 
to flames already burning so fiercely. 

472. What We prescribe for all in a fatherly spirit, the clergy 
will remember that they should be the first to follow. For since 

107 Sermon LXIX, in Migne, P.L., v. 38, c. 440. 



priests ought to become and to be from the heart the pattern of 
the flock, it is evidently unbecoming for them to allow themselves 
to be tossed about by such storms of rivalry and animosity. Hence, 
We exhort them most affectionately to excel the rest of the people, 
in moderation and kindness, in reverence for the bishops especially 
in all things relating to justice and ecclesiastical discipline and on 
which the Church decides of its own right. It will certainly be for 
the spiritual good and the concord of Catholics of both languages 
if all the priests know the two languages. Hence, We were wonder- 
fully pleased when We learned that in some seminaries it has been 
made the rule that the clerics learn to speak both French and 
English an example which We would wish to be followed by the 
others. Meanwhile let the priests engaged in the Sacred Ministry 
endeavor to acquire skill and practice in both languages, and setting 
aside all animosity use one or the other as the needs of the faithful 


473. For the rest, Venerable Brothers, We have such reliance 
on your faithfulness and skill, and We know you to be so mindful 
of your office and so solicitous about the account you must render 
before the Divine Judge, that We take it for certain that you will 
leave nothing undone which may help to remove the harm and to 
restore peace. Give all your thought and care, therefore, to ensure 
that all may be one and be consummated in one, as the Divine 
Master taught and prayed shortly before seeking death on the cross 
for us 


The Pope urges the practice of Christian charity during 
the war. 

September 8, 1916 

474. . . . For indeed, while Our heart still bleeds at the sight 
of this long and cruel slaughter of Our children, Our grief is the 
more increased at seeing how Our incessant appeals for peace have 
given rise to unworthy suspicions among some people, and have 
provoked expressions of discontent among others, almost as if Our 

108 Translation from The Tablet, v. 128, p. 538 (October 21, 1916). Original Latin, 
A.A.S., v. 8, pp. 356-357 (October 5, 1916). 


[475-476] BENEDICT XV 

exhortations were not prompted by a wish for the public good, but 
by some design for Our own interests, or as if We wished that 
the war might finish in a peace not founded on the principles of 
equity and justice. Truly, if passion had not clouded understand- 
ing, this thing could not be obscure this thing which in itself is 
supremely evident that the Supreme Pontiff, Vicar of the King of 
Peace and Father of all Christians, cannot, through his high duty 
of conscience, counsel, suggest, teach aught else but peace; and that 
in doing so He does not favor the cause of any men, but of hu- 
manity, and that especially in a war so murderous that, if anyone 
could shorten it even for a single day, he would deserve the grati- 
tude of the human race. 

475. Waiting meanwhile for the peace which We invoke, We 
shall continue to alleviate, at least in part, by every possible means, 
the awful load of misery, the unhappy consequence of the war. 
And it is in this field of charity that We see you distinguishing 
yourselves with works of enlightened zeal both in federating 
all the Catholic societies in Germany devoted to charity in 
order to bring more ready and efficacious succor to the innumer- 
able miseries of the unfortunate, and in establishing those beneficent 
undertakings in Paderborn which have the scope of improving the 
conditions of all the prisoners in the Empire. Wherefore, while 
We praise this effort of Christian charity, We, in that, are praising 
both the unfailing kindness of the Bishop and clergy of Paderborn 
and the liberality of all the Catholics of Germany. But in truth 
to-day the highest duty of charity (which you are doing, and in 
which We exhort you to persevere), is this: That each man should 
strive to again make brothers the peoples whom the war has divided, 
not making hatred more acute, but softening it little by little in 
mutual works of pity. 

476. So, almost naturally, the way will be prepared for the 
peace which is, in the aspirations of every honest man, a peace 
which will be the more lasting in that it will have roots deep down 
in men's hearts. Cease not, then, to implore, as you are doing, the 
divine aid with new expiatory prayers and by calling the children 
frequently to the Eucharistic Table, for none can estimate the value 
before the Lord of humble and suppliant prayers, especially when 
they are strengthened by penance and innocence 




Nothing is more befitting the Apostolic See than to 
labor jor peace. 

September 10, 1916 

477. The exceptional ardor of your piety and obedience towards 
Us shines forth from the most friendly letter which you have sent 
to Us on the second anniversary of Our Pontificate. For We learn 
not only that the grief which We feel from this bitterness of the 
times is common to Us with you, but that you also are laboring 
likewise to lessen it in Us. You write that, although We were not 
able to bring about peace. We have striven up to the present to 
mitigate so great and such varied sorrows of war. This We cer- 
tainly have tried to do with all Our strength during the past two 
years, and nothing, furthermore, is more fitting to Apostolic duty. 
If We have accomplished anything in this work, all is to be attrib- 
uted to the favor of God. No despair is now to be felt about com- 
mon safety, especially if we properly use as our intercessor with 
God His own great Mother, whom recently We have ordered all 
Christians to invoke as "Queen of Peace." Bavaria should do this 
with even greater zeal, as We have recently declared her its special 
patron. . . . 


VENICE. 110 

Benedict XV deplores the bombing of Venice. 
September 16, 1916 

478. The new cause for sorrow over the unhappy lot of Venice 
moves Us to a new expression of sympathy. Carrying out in your 
letter of the i3th inst, your intention of letting the Head of the 
Church share in the vicissitudes, already truly unhappy, of your 
Patriarchate, you tell Us of the air raid of the previous night over 
your city, so dear to Our heart and so precious for religion, history 

109 Original Latin, A.A.S., v. 8, p. 394 (November 3, 1916). 

110 Translation from The Tablet, v. 128, p. 438 (September 30, 1916). Original 

Italian, Civilta Cattolica, 1916, v. 4, p. 102 (September 30, 1916). 



and art, and you give Us notice that the church of SS. John and 
Paul has not escaped damage but that, fortunately, it is not ir- 
reparable. The new disaster, preceded only a few days before by 
the fall of a bomb quite close to the fafade of St. Mark's a bomb 
which Providence did not allow to remain of unhappy memory 
brings back to Our mind the disaster of the church of Santa Maria 
Formosa, which, in its turn, re-opens in Our heart the bitter wound 
of the church of the ScalzL Indeed, the paternal solicitude, which, 
as you know, We have not failed to interpose in order to prevent 
such disasters, has not had the effect which Our heart so keenly 
hoped. So, as it is not given Us to ward off the heavy blows from 
the heads of Our children, We, without seeking into the reasons, 
must limit Ourself to deploring once again this new kind of calam- 
ity, which for Us is not the least grave among the consequences of 
the war. Meanwhile, We take pleasure in assuring the beloved 
Venetians that as We are with them in all their sufferings, so We 
are and shall be near them with sympathy, comfort, and with help, 
too, according to Our power, and We pray earnestly to the Lord 
that He may put an end to their troubles which are a grievous 
sorrow to all. ... 


Mankind is not yet worthy of peace. 
September 25, 1916 

479. More than thirty thousand boys and girls of the city and 
archdiocese of Bologna have signed their names in the precious 
album which Your Eminence had the noble and delicate thought 
of lately presenting at the Throne of the August Pontiff, offering 
him the devout homage, which the beloved sons of St. Petronius 
have rendered to the Holy Father, by approaching in great num- 
bers the Eucharistic Banquet of Peace on Sunday, the 30th of last 
July, when, at the invitation of the Pontiff, all their little brethren 
in other churches, cities and districts at the same hour and with 
the same intention advanced to the same Table. 

111 Translation from Rome, v. 20, pp. 168-169 (October 6, 1916). Original Italian, 
Civiltb Cattolica t 1916, v. 4, pp. 234-235 (October 13, 1916). 



480. On that day, memorable for the whole world, while inno- 
cence on earth, receiving into virgin hearts the flesh of the Immacu- 
late Lamb, were united in mystic wedlock with innocence in 
heaven, multitudes of angels, as in the cave of Bethlehem of old, 
repeated the glad tidings of peace. But mankind, forgetful of love 
and blinded by sin, was not yet worthy of peace, and the close of a 
second year of hatred and slaughter was followed, alas, by the still 
sadder dawn of a third year of war. 

481. This was a fresh wound reserved for the sorrowing heart 
of His Holiness, but it has found a very sweet balm in the comfort 
which his little angel consolers, the children of the whole world and 
especially of your archdiocese, have piously afforded him by the 
offering of their Communions and their prayers. 

482. The prayer of children, who have become the living and 
real temple of Jesus, ascends like fragrant incense to the Throne of 
the Most High, and if it cannot be spread thence over this barren 
vale, like mystic dew, to restore peace and benediction, it is still 
destined for that most lofty end of assuaging the sorrows which 
surround the Vicar of Christ, with whose fervent and constant 
aspirations it is in harmony. 

483. Such has been, in -reality, the beneficent fruit of the hom- 
age of the children of the archdiocese of Bologna, and His Holiness 
has been happy to welcome it, all the more so as He has been able 
to run over the signatures contained in the imposing volume and 
recollect, in the great majority of the names, the boys and girls who 
have received from his hands the sacred chrism of the soldiers of 

484. To each one of them, therefore, and to their households, 
as well as to the good priests who carefully prepared them to ap- 
proach worthily the Heavenly Banquet, His Holiness wishes to 
express, through Your Eminence, his sovereign and ever paternal 
satisfaction, and he desires moreover, in return for their filial hom- 
age, to wish them that profound peace of soul and that special 
protection of God, which are the symbol and source of every higher 

485. Of this peace and of this protection the Apostolic Benedic- 
tion will be an affectionate pledge, which die August Pontiff, with 
all fatherly benevolence, has deigned to impart to Your Eminence, 
to the clergy and people of the archdiocese, and especially to the 


[486-488] BENEDICT XV 

beloved children, reserved in the wishes of the Supreme Pastor for 
the vision of a most happy existence 



American children are exhorted to contribute alms for 
the starving Belgian youth. 

October 28, 1916 

486. Profound compassion of a father has again moved Our 
heart, when We read an important letter recently sent to Us- by the 
distinguished chairman 113 of the praiseworthy Commission for Re- 
lief in Belgium, describing in few words yet showing proof of 
most terrible reality, the pitiable situation of numerous Belgian 
children who, during two sad years, have been suffering from the 
lack of that proper nourishment necessary to sustain the tender 
existence of budding childhood. In most moving terms the chair- 
man has described how so many desolate families, after having 
given everything humanly possible to give, now find themselves 
with nothing left with which to appease the hunger of their little 

487. He has made Us see, almost as if they were passing before 
these very eyes, dimmed with tears, the long file, continuously 
increasing, of Belgian infants waiting for their daily distribution 
of bread; unhappy little ones whose bodies, emaciated by lack of 
proper nutrition, bear not infrequently the impress of some deadly 
sickness brought about by their failure to receive the food which 
children of their age require. . . . 

488. In this emergency the worthy chairman has turned his 
thought and his heart to the millions of children of your happy, 
noble America, who, in the abundance with which they are now 
surrounded, could they be given an exact idea of the pitiable and 
unfortunate condition of their little fellow-creatures in Belgium 
. . . would not hesitate a moment to co-operate heartily in accord- 
ance with some prearranged plan, to come promptly to the relief of 
these needy Belgian babies. 

112 Translation from America, v. 16, p. 218 (December 16, \$i 6). Original Italian, 

A.A.S., v. 9, pp. lo-n (January 10, 1917). 

113 Mr. Herbert C. Hoover. 



489. In view of this condition of affairs, We have considered 
the work indicated so humanitarian and so holy that, in prompt 
compliance with the appeal addressed to Us ... We have de- 
cided to approve and recommend it, as We hereby do indorse it 
most heartily by these words to you, My Lord Cardinal, and, through 
you, to the illustrious members of the American Episcopate, to the 
clergy and to every generous heart; but particularly to those chil- 
dren of America upon whom is based every hope of success for the 
plan devised by this beneficent institution. 

490. Neither do We doubt, in truth, that the happy children 
of America, without distinction of faith or of class, at this approach 
of another winter . . . will vie, in their innocent pride, with each 
other to be able to extend to their little brothers and sisters of the 
Belgian nation, even though across the immense ocean, the helping 
hand and the offerings of that charity which knows no distance. 
The words of our Divine Redeemer, As long as you did it to one of 
these My least brethren, you did it to Me, 114 so appropriately 
brought to mind in these circumstances, are a sure pledge of 
heavenly pleasure and reward; while We feel likewise, how greatly 
are ennobled, even in the eyes of the world in this period of atro- 
cious fratricidal carnage, the people of more fortunate lands by the 
performance of true and loving deeds and by the pouring of a little 
balm upon the wounds of those less fortunate ....... 


The bombing of open cities is condemned. 
November, 1916 

491. The Holy Father, deploring and condemning aerial bom- 
bardments of inoffensive open towns, by whomsoever they be per- 
petrated, sends for the families in your city who have just been 
visited by so great a misfortune, the sum of 10,000 lire, and comforts 
you and your diocesans with the Apostolic Benediction. 

115 Translation from Rome, v. 20, p. 237 (November 18, 1916). We have been un- 
able to find the original text of this message. UOsservatore Romano, November 
16, 1916, carries an editorial entitled: "LSopera e la parola del Papa contro^ i bom- 
b&rdamenti aerei" in which a few words from this telegram are cited. 


[49>494] BENEDICT XV 


The Holy Father endeavors to persuade the German 
Government to return Belgian youths deported into the 

November 29, 1916 

492. The Holy Father has received the letter of Your Eminence, 
dated the i2th of this month, with the accompanying documents 
concerning the deportation of Belgian youths into Germany. 

493. The August Pontiff, in whose paternal heart all the sor- 
rows of his beloved Belgian people find a profound echo, has or- 
dered me to inform Your Eminence that he has already interceded 
most earnestly with the Imperial German Government in favor 
of those populations so sorely tried, and will do all in his power 
to bring about a cessation of the aforesaid deportations and the 
return of the young men, already sent far away from their country, 
into the bosom of their afflicted families. His Holiness has also 
given me the agreeable charge of transmitting to Your Eminence 
and the faithful of Belgium his very special Blessing. . . . 


Prosperity and peace reign where the observance of law 

December 4, 1916 

494 It is a well-known fact in every human society, 

and in the international domain itself, that where observance of law 
flourishes, prosperity and peace reign ; while, on the other hand, 
when the authority of the law is neglected or depised and discord 
and caprice prevail, all public and private right is thrown into con- 
fusion. This is confirmed, were confirmation needed, in a most 
striking way by what is happening today. The horrible madness 
of the conflict which is devastating Europe shows too clearly to 
what slaughter and ruin disrespect for the supreme laws, which 

116 Original Italian, Civiltb Cattolica, 1917, v. i, p. 348 (January 27, 1917). 

117 Translation from Schaefer, A Papal Peace Mosaic, pp. 27-28. Original Latin, A.A.S., 

v. 8, pp. 467-468 (December 9, 1916). 



regulate the mutual relations of States, may lead. In this general 
convulsion of peoples, we behold the desecration of sacred things, 
and the vile treatment meted out to ministers of worship, even 
those of high dignity, although inviolable by divine law and by the 
law of nations; numerous peaceable citizens are taken away from 
their homes, amid the tears of mothers, wives, children; open cities 
and undefended populations are being molested, especially by aerial 
raids; everywhere, by land and sea, such misdeeds are perpetrated 
as fill the soul with horror and anguish. While deploring this mass 
of evils, and while again condemning the injustices that are com- 
mitted in this war, wherever and by whomsoever perpetrated, We 
fondly entertain the hope, confiding in God for its accomplishment, 
that as with the promulgation of the new Code a happier and more 
tranquil era will, as We trust, dawn for the Church; so, too, may 
States soon enjoy the blessings of long expected peace, founded on 
reverence for right and justice, and bringing to all nations, once 
more united by the bonds of friendship, an abundance of all pros- 


DINALS. 118 

Christmas appeal for peace. 

December 24, 1916 

495 How, indeed, could Our children aspire with Us 

to peace, to that just and lasting peace which is to put an end to the 
horrors of the present war, if no conditioned good has ever been 
attained without fulfillment of the condition, and the pax hominibus 
bonce voluntatis rings out to-day as a conditional promise neither more 
nor less than when it echoed for the first time round the crib of the 
newly-born Redeemer. Time and again during the fearful course 
of the horrible storm which devastates so large a part of the world, 
while reading the petitions of mothers, wives, fathers, children, and 
measuring with the eye and the heart the social and domestic ruins 
of the immense cataclysm, We have thought of the tears shed by 
Jesus at the sight of Jerusalem, sinful, unbelieving, wayward. But 

118 Translation from Schaefer, A Papal Peace Mosaic, pp. 28-29. Original Italian, 
Civiltd, Cattolica, 1917, v, i, pp. 10-12 (December 28, 1916). 



more than me tears, eloquent as they are, it is the sorrowful words 
of Our Lord that terrify Us most: Hadst thou but known the things 
that are to thy peace, but now they are hidden from thine eyes, be- 
cause thou hast not known the time of thy visitation^ Oh! let 
the world know now, amid the angelic singing and the sweet attrac- 
tion of the Babe of Peace, the things which are for its peace; let 
those who wield powers second the voice of this illustrious Senate 
to arrest the course of the destruction of the peoples; let the nations 
reflect that the Church, by the light of the Faith and through the 
assistance of Him Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, sees, 
nay, sees much farther than the eyes of human frailty; let the con- 
tending parties yield at last to the repeated admonitions and pray- 
ers of the Father of the Christian family. 


Peace will not return until men ma\e reparation to 
Divine Justice for their iniquity. 

January 5, 1917 

496 We keep fixed in mind the thought that, just 

as this dreadful scourge of war was roused by the iniquities of 
mankind, neither can it abate before men have rendered to Divine 
Justice due reparation for their iniquities. The manifold and 
varied practice of charity carried on by you, O beloved sons, proves 
that you are just as apprehensive of the calamity as We are, and 
just as confident in the efficacy of the remedy: wherefore it is but 
Our duty to confirm you in this loving trust, in order that the labors 
of your charity be multiplied more and more, and that they may 
secure the desired result. To charity let there be united, in turn, the 
care of making ready the ways of peace by means of a better adjust- 
ment of men's hearts. Let that which was the prey of disorder 
come back to uprightness : let him who wandered along the crooked 
byway retake the straight road. And, since it is necessary that every 
example descend from higher up, so also should the incitement to 
virtue start with the Patricians and with the Nobles of 

Lu\c, XIX, 42-44- 

120 Original Italian, Ch'iltd, Cattolica, 1917, v. i, p. 227 (January 19, 1917). 



LETTER Communi Vestra Epistola TO THE BISHOPS OF HUN- 

GARY. 121 

Attempts to establish peace must nou) be redoubled. 
January 10, 1917 

497 As regards the calamitous conditions so gener- 
ally prevalent. We clearly see that your views agree with Ours and 
the same care which torments Us, keeps you also vehemently 
anxious. Hence, it naturally results that you both grieve at the 
length of the war and beg from God the longed-for peace, with 
desire more ardent and prayer more instant as the day is longer 
delayed. And matters indeed have come to this that counsels must 
be matured and attempts redoubled for the procuring of peace. May 
those, in whose hands are the destinies of so many peoples, quickly 
discover and courageously follow the way of peace! . . . 


The Holy Father authorizes a collection for the war- 
stricken Lithuanians. 

February 10, 1917 

498. The Holy Father was painfully aware that, in the violence 
of the European conflict, the most pitiful fate had befallen the 
Lithuanian people, so that the flourishing country and the rich 
cities of that stricken land are today reduced to poverty and ruins. 

499. But what shocked the compassionate heart of our Com- 
mon Father even more was the message sent by the Central Lithu- 
anian Committee to the effect that the charity of their brothers in 
the whole world, which has already been conspicuous towards so 
many war-victims and particularly towards the Belgians and the 
Poles, has not yet reached the hapless inhabitants of noble Lithu- 
ania who have been languishing so long in privation and sorrow. 

500. Deeply sensitive to the groans of so many of his sons, who 
have the worthy claim of having always remained faithful to re- 
ligion and to the Church, the August Pontiff does not cease to offer 

121 Translation from Rome, v. 21, p. 5 (January, 191?)- Original Latin, A.A.S., v. 9, 

p. 81 (February i, 1917). 

122 Original Italian, A.A3., v. 9, pp. 155-156 (March i, 1917)- 

22 3 

[501-504] BENEDICT XV 

special and fervent prayers that the comforting effects of Divine 
Mercy may the sooner descend upon them. 

501. Meanwhile, wishing to contribute personally, in the meas- 
ure permitted by his present difficulties and the ever-increasing 
number of urgent obligations, in order to relieve the lot of the 
suffering Lithuanians, His Holiness has deigned to assign for their 
benefit the enclosed sum of twenty thousand francs, thereby indi- 
cating, if not wealth, at least the love of the Father of the poor. 

502. Knowing well, however, from the hard experience of no 
less than thirty months of war, how necessary it is that for the 
relief of the Lithuanian population, a world-wide contribution be 
sent by all those who have not yet been subjected to the painful 
ordeal of war, even though they have felt the repercussions of the 
huge conflict, the Holy Father has deigned, as he formerly did in 
the case of the Polish people, to authorize Your Excellency and the 
other Lithuanian Bishops to invite the Bishops of the entire world 
to set a holyday of the current year (such as the Sunday within 
the Octave of the Ascension) on which in all Catholic churches 
there will be public prayers and a collection of funds for the relief 
of the poor Lithuanians. 

503. The August Pontiff is confident that the charity of all those 
who feel the bonds of Christian brotherhood will meet his paternal 
appeal with a generosity proportionate to your misfortunes, and he 
trusts that the fruits of the merciful alms will afford to your deso- 
late multitudes lasting economic help no less than moral com- 


Cardinal Gasparri presents the answer of Count Hert- 
ling, Foreign Minister of Bavaria, concerning the 
deportation of Belgian laborers into Germany. 

March 30, 1917 

504. The undersigned Cardinal Secretary of State of His Holi- 
ness hastens with pleasure to communicate to Your Excellency the 
following note which Count Hertling, President of the Council of 

12S Original Italian, Civiltd, Cattolica, 1917, v. 2, pp. 221-222 (April 13, 1917). 


IL 27 APRILE 1915 [55-58] 

Ministers and Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Bavaria, has 
recently sent to Monsignor Aversa, Apostolic Nuncio in Munich: 

505. "In reply to the esteemed note of the 26th of last month, 
I have the honor to make known to Your Excellency that the solici- 
tude which the Holy See manifested for a satisfactory solution of 
the question of the Belgian workers has not been without results. 

506. "According to very reliable information, which I have re- 
cently received from Berlin, the competent authorities are disposed, 
first of all, to abstain from all further forced deportation of workers 
from Belgium into Germany, and to allow the return to their coun- 
try of all those who, through some possible error, were unjustly 
deported. I am especially pleased that in this way is fulfilled the 
desire of His Holiness, the Pope, so often made known to me by 
Your Excellency and which I have taken care to communicate most 
earnestly to the Authority of the Reich. . . ." 


STATE. 124 

Peace must be sought from Jesus Christ by -frequent 
prayers through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin. 

May 5, 1917 

507 We were encouraged at that time by the vivid 

and serene hope that the Divine Redeemer would prepare all souls 
to receive Our paternal invitation to peace which We were prepar- 
ing to address, in His August Name, to the belligerent peoples and 
their leaders, on the first anniversary of the breaking out of the 
present terrible war. The ardor with which Christian families and 
even the soldiers of the various fighting armies offered to Christ 
on that day the homage of loving submission which is so acceptable 
to His Divine Sacred Heart, increased Our hope and encouraged 
Us to raise higher Our paternal cry for peace. 

508. We pointed out to the people then the only way to con- 
ciliate their dissensions in a way honorable and favorable to all 
and, tracing the foundations on which the future order of States 
would have to rest in order to be enduring, We conjured them, in 
the name of God and of humanity, to abandon their designs for 

124 Original Italian, A.A.S., v. 9, pp. 265-266 (June i, 1917). 

22 5 

[509-512] BENEDICT XV 

mutual destruction and to come to a just and equitable accord. 

509. But Our troubled voice, calling for the cessation of the 
cruel war, the suicide of Europe, remained unheeded that day and 
later! It seemed that the dark tide of hatred gathering strength 
among the belligerent nations rose even higher, and that the war, 
sweeping other countries into its frightful vortex, increased its 
slaughter and destruction. 

510.- Nevertheless, Our faith did not fail! You, my Lord 
Cardinal, who have lived and are still living with Us in the anxious 
expectation of the longed-for peace, well know this. In the un- 
speakable torture of Our soul and amidst the most bitter tears shed 
on account of the atrocious evils which have been heaped upon the 
warring peoples by this horrible tempest, We like to hope that the 
auspicious day is not now far distant when all men, sons of the 
same Heavenly Father, will again look upon one another as 
brothers. The sufferings of the peoples, which have become almost 
intolerable, have rendered the general desire for peace more acute 
and intense. May the Divine Redeemer, in the infinite goodness of 
His Heart, bring about that, in the hearts of the rulers also, mildness 
may prevail, and that, conscious of their own responsibility before 
God and humanity, they may no longer resist the voice of the 
peoples begging for peace! 

511. Therefore, there ascends to Christ, especially in the month 
dedicated to His Sacred Heart, prayers more frequent, humble and 
confident, from the whole unhappy human family, imploring of 
Him the cessation of the terrible scourge. . . . And since all the 
graces which God deigns to bestow in pity upon men are dispensed 
through Mary, We urge that in this terrible hour, the trusting peti- 
tions of her most afflicted children be directed to her! 

LETTER Communem Vestram Epistolam TO ARCHBISHOP Rossi 

The war has deprived many parishes of their pastors. 
May 8, 1917 

512 The last part of your letter refers Us to those 

clerics whom more holy functions and higher aspirations have 

125 Original Latin, A.A.S., v. 9, p. 326 (July 2, 1917). 



long ago withdrawn to a more noble camp. We have the same 
opinion as yourselves and We frequently turn over silently in Our 
mind and with great sadness what you relate with sorrow. We 
fear, and not rashly, that the hearts of those men may be soiled 
with human dust whose virtue ought first to shine before all others. 
And vehemently and solicitously. We turn Our thought particularly 
to those parishes without number which, because of the removal of 
their pastors, have no priest to impart the nourishment of holy 
doctrine and administer the Sacraments. Oh, that even these adver- 
sities may work together unto good! . . . 


The Bishops must explain to their flocks the efforts the 
Holy See has undertaken for peace. 

May 12, 1917 

513 So far as We are concerned, We think that the 

attitude and mind with which We regard these adversities of the 
times, what We give to the present, what promise We make to the 
future, is made clear from what We have often said and done when 
time and necessity seemed to demand. However that may be, your 
cares must be bent in this direction, to this your labors must be 
especially directed, that, whatever the Apostolic See performs either 
to lessen the calamities of war or to bring about peace, all may 
know this and esteem it as just. For the result will be that the truth 
will recall men to better plans. . . . 


The Swiss are praised for their marvelous charity dur- 
ing the war. 

July 25, 1917 

514. Childlike reverence marked the letter which the convention 
of the Christian Social Labor Organizations of Switzerland, 

126 Original Latin, A,A.S. f v. 9, P- 327 (July 2, 1917)-. 

127 Original German, Mutter, Das "Priedenswer\ der Kirche, pp. 462-463. 



gathered at Zurich, sent to the Holy Father. Through it they pre- 
sented him a solemn testimony of their loyalty, gratitude and love. 

515. Besides the merit of the letter as an acknowledgment; of 
the gratitude of true and loyal sons, these lofty and noble words 
of the Swiss workers seemed, to the Holy Father, to have the char- 
acteristics of an impressive invitation from a fortunate island to 
the countless poor shipwrecked souls who are hopelessly battling 
the surging waves of a monstrous war, that has now rocked the 
human family for three years and swallows up its most hopeful 

516. To these poor shipwrecked is offered the plank of safety; 
and the longed-for shore of peace comes into sight. This is the 
sincere and absolute return to God of both individual and social, 
private and public life. It is the recognition of the supreme author- 
ity of Him, Whose teaching never changes, because it is Truth 
itself, Whose reign has gloriously withstood the centuries, because 
it is a clear embodiment of Love and Wisdom, Whose power, 
diffusing peace and benevolence, because it is the power of God, of 
Love and Peace itself, reaches from one end of the earth to the other. 

517. The reading of the letter of devotedness awakened in the 
heart of the Holy Father sentiments of tender love with feelings 
of lively gratitude. These occasioned his ardent wish that no one 
might remain deaf to the convincing voice of Swiss Catholic labor, 
just as no one has rejected the fraternal hand of the Swiss people, 
as it was extended to all, to assuage their painful fears, and to heal 
their sick and wounded in its own hospitable land. 

518. May the august Queen of Peace, unceasingly implored by 
the suppliant voices of her children, hear the sighs of all those who 
suffer and love; may she, in motherly solicitude, settle the rending 
conflicts, after the consuming flames of hate have been permanently 
extinguished in human society; -may she soon bring the refreshing 
dew and consoling dawn of peace, so ardently desired. In these 
sentiments His Holiness renews his thanks to the Swiss laborers 
and bestows on them with paternal benevolence the desired Apos- 
tolic Blessing. 


DESLE DEBUT . [519-522] 



Benedict XV submits concrete proposals for peace. 
August i, 1917 

519. Since the beginning of Our Pontificate, in the midst of the 
horrors of the terrible war which has burst upon Europe, We have 
considered three things among others: 

To maintain an absolute impartiality towards all belliger- 
ents, as becomes him who is the Common Father, and who 
loves all his children with an equal affection; 

To endeavor continually to do the utmost good to all with- 
out distinction of persons, nationality or religion, in accordance 
not only with the universal law of charity, but also with the 
supreme spiritual duty laid upon Us by Christ; and 

Finally, as is demanded by Our pacific mission to omit 
nothing, as far as in Our power lies, to contribute to hasten the 
end of this calamity by trying to bring the peoples and their 
leaders to more moderate resolutions in the discussion of means 
that will secure a "just and lasting peace." 

520. Whoever has followed Our work during these three sor- 
rowful years that have just ended has been able easily to recognize, 
that, as We remained ever faithful to Our resolution of absolute 
impartiality and Our work of well-doing, so, We have not ceased to 
exhort the belligerent peoples and Governments to become once 
again brothers, even though publicity was not given to all that We 
have done in order to attain this noble end. 

521. Toward the end of the first year of war We addressed to 
the nations who are at grips the most earnest exhortations, and, 
further, We indicated the road to be followed in order to reach a 
peace which would be stable and honorable for all. Unhappily, Our 
appeal was not heard and the war continued desperately for another 
two years with all its horrors. 

522. It became even more cruel, and spread upon the face of the 
earth, upon the sea, and even into the sky; and on defenseless cities, 
on tranquil villages, on their innocent populations, were seen to 
descend desolation and death. 

128 Translation from Eppstein, The Catholic Tradition of the Law of Nations, pp. 215- 
218. Original French, A.A.S., v. 9, pp. 417-420 (September I, 1917). 


[523-526] BENEDICT XV 

523. And now anyone can imagine how the sufferings o all 
would be multiplied and aggravated if yet more months, or worse 
still, more years, were to be added to this blood-stained time. Must 
the civilized world be nothing more than a field of death, and 
shall Europe, so glorious and flourishing, rush to the abyss, as if 
dragged by some universal madness, and lend a hand in her own 
destruction ? 

524. In a situation of so much anguish, in presence of so ter- 
ribly serious a situation, We who have no private political aim, 
who listen not to the suggestions or interests of any of the belliger- 
ents, but are influenced only by the sentiment of Our supreme duty 
as the Father of the faithful, by the solicitations of Our children who 
beg for Our intervention and Our mediatory word, and for the 
voice of humanity and reason now again throw out a cry for 
peace, and We renew Our pressing appeal to those who hold in 
their hands the destinies of nations. 

525. But that We may no longer limit Ourselves to general 
terms, as circumstances counseled Us in the past, We desire now 
to put forward some more concrete and practical propositions, and 
invite the Governments of the belligerents to come to some agree- 
ment on the following points, which seem to offer the bases of a 
just and lasting peace, though leaving to them the duty of adjust- 
ing and completing them: First of all, the fundamental point must 
be that the moral force of right shall be substituted for the material 
force of arms; thence must follow a just agreement of all for the 
simultaneous and reciprocal diminution of armaments, in accord- 
ance with rules and guarantees to be established hereafter, in a 
measure sufficient and necessary for the maintenance of public 
order in each State; next, as a substitute for armies, the institution 
of arbitration, with its high peace-making function, subject to 
regulations to be agreed on and sanctions to be determined against 
the State which should refuse either to submit international ques- 
tions to arbitration or to accept its decision. 

526. Once the supremacy of right is thus established, let all 
obstacles to the free intercourse of people be swept aside, in assur- 
ing, by means of rules, to be fixed in the same way, the true liberty 
of and common rights over the sea, which on the one hand would 
eliminate numerous causes of conflict, and, on the other, would 
open to all new sources of prosperity and progress. 


DES LE DEBUT [5 2 7'53 2 ] 

527. As to the damage to be made good and the cost of the 
war. We see no other way of solying the question but to lay down, 
as a general principle, an entire and reciprocal condonation, justified 
moreover by the immense benefits which will accrue from disarma- 
ment the more so as the continuation of such carnage solely for 
economic reasons would be inconceivable. If in certain cases there 
are, on the other hand, particular reasons, let them be weighed 
justly and equitably. 

528. But these peaceful agreements, with the immense advan- 
tages which flow from them, are not possible without the reciprocal 
restitution of territories at the moment occupied consequently, on 
the part of Germany, a total evacuation of Belgium, with a guar- 
antee of her complete political, military and economic independence, 
as against any other Power whatever; similar evacuation of French 
territory; on the part of other belligerent Powers a similar restitu- 
tion of the German Colonies. 

529. As regards territorial questions as, for instance, those 
pending between Italy and Austria, and between Germany and 
France there is ground for hope that in view of the immense 
advantages of a permanent peace with disarmament, the disputants 
would feel disposed to examine them in a conciliatory spirit, giving 
due weight, within the limits of justice and feasibility, as We have 
said previously, to the aspirations of the populations, and, on occa- 
sion, bringing their particular interests into harmony with the gen- 
eral welfare of the great community of mankind. 

530. The same spirit of equity and justice must direct the ex- 
amination of the remaining territorial and political questions, and 
particularly those which concern Armenia, the Balkan States, and 
the territories which form part of the former kingdom of Poland, 
which in particular, by reason of her noble historical traditions and 
the sufferings endured, specially during the present war, has a just 
claim on the sympathies of all nations. 

531. Such are the principal foundations on which We believe 
that the future reorganization of the peoples must be built. They 
are of a nature to make impossible the return of similar conflicts, 
and to prepare the solution of the economic question, which is so 
important for the material well-being of all the belligerent States. 

532. In laying these proposals before you, who at this tragic 
hour are guiding the destinies of the belligerent nations, We are 


[533-535] BENEDICT XV 

animated by a sweet hope that of seeing them accepted, and thus 
of witnessing the speedy end of the terrible struggle which more 
and more seems to be a useless slaughter. The whole world, on the 
other hand, recognizes that on one side as well as on the other the 
honor of their arms has been amply vindicated. 

533. Lend an ear, therefore, to Our prayers; accept the paternal 
invitation which We address to you in the name of the Divine 
Redeemer, the Prince of Peace. Reflect on your very grave respon- 
sibility before God and before men; on your decision depend the 
repose and joy of unnumbered families, the lives of thousands of 
young men, the happiness, in a word, of the peoples, to secure whose 
welfare is your absolute duty. 

534. May God inspire you with a decision in harmony with 
His most holy will. Heaven grant that in meriting the applause 
of your contemporaries you may assure to yourselves, in the sight 
of future generations, the noble name of peace-makers. For Us, in 
close communion in prayer and penitence with all the faithful souls 
who are sighing for peace, We implore for you from the Divine 
Spirit enlightenment and counsel. 

LETTER Graves inter Amaritudines TO CARDINAL VON HART- 

The German Bishops offered the Pope their -felicita- 
tions for his intervention in behalf of peace. 

September 7, 1917 

535. . . . And in the first place it pleased you, Beloved Son 
and Venerable Brethren, to give approval to Our letters by which 
We vehemently urged the leaders of the peoples waging war to put 
aside arms and to discuss and enter upon a just and lasting peace, 
and at the same time you promised that with all your power and 
especially by your prayers and the prayers of your faithful you 
would aid Us in Our attempts at peace . . . We rejoice at the same 
time when We notice that this slight gift has furnished you with 
a cause of pouring forth prayers to God that He may bestow upon 
Us the oil of consolation and strength to alleviate the wounds of 
129 Original Latin, A.A.S., v. 9, pp. 485-486 (October r, 1917). 


Our heart and give Us courage in adversity. You will easily per- 
ceive from what source We expect the greatest consolation in these 
times. Wherefore, proceed together with your peoples by penance 
and prayers to lessen the Divine Wrath and to pray with Us that 
Almighty God may hasten to send down at length from heaven 
upon the whole world swallowed up in a monstrous war, as though 
in a whirlpool of fire and blood, a snowy dove bearing the olive 
branch in her mouth. . . . 


Cardinal Gasparri explains how the papal peace pro- 
posal of August i applies to France. 

September 10, 1917 

536 In considering the various points which the Holy 

Father regards as the main conditions of the peace which he desires 
to be just and lasting, it certainly is not France that can consider 
herself as hardly treated by the first and second, which concern 
mutual and simultaneous disarmament, and as a consequence the 
establishment of a court of compulsory arbitration and of the free- 
dom of the seas. 

537. As to the compensation for the damage done and the cost 
of the war,, the Holy Father, in the third point, proposes reciprocal 
condonation as a general principle, adding, however, that if in cer- 
tain cases there are special reasons in the way of it (as in the case 
of Belgium), they must be considered with justice and equity. Your 
Excellency must certainly remember that M. Ribot, in accord with 
the Provisory Government of Russia, has admitted that in the 
eventual peace conferences there must be no demand for a war in- 
demnity; but he reserved for France the right of demanding com- 
pensation for the damage caused by the ill-feeling of military 
commanders without any military necessity. Conceived as it was in 
general terms, the Papal Note does not stand in the way of com- 
pensation for such damage being included hi the exception above 
mentioned. But even apart from the enormous difficulty of esti- 

130 Translation from The Tablet, v. 130, p. 459 (September 27, 1917). Original French, 
Documentation Catholique, v. 32, cc. 1334-1335 (December 29, 1934). 


[53^539] BENEDICT XV 

mating on the various sectors the damage needlessly caused by the 
fault of the military commanders, it is for France to determine if it 
will be worth her while, even on the supposition that she will be 
victorious, to prolong the war for even a year in order to demand 
reparation for such damage of the enemy, taking into account the 
losses in money and the still greater losses in men, and the heaps of 
ruins which the war would leave in Belgium and in the occupied 
districts in France. 

538. In his fourth point, the Holy Father means that the French 
territory now in the occupation of the German armies shall be 
immediately and completely evacuated. That certainly cannot be 
displeasing to France, which for more than three years has been 
shedding the best blood of her sons without having achieved the 
liberation of those districts. And lastly, in his fifth point, the Holy 
Father does not, and could not, propose any solution of the ques- 
tion of Alsace-Lorraine. But he expresses a wish that France and 
Germany may examine it in a conciliatory disposition, and have 
regard, so far as may be just and possible, to the aspirations of the 
people concerned. It is, therefore, hard to see how such desires and 
hopes could be offensive to French patriotism; on the contrary, if 
this question, which is the apple of discord between two great na- 
tions, could be solved peaceably and in a way satisfactory to both 
parties (and no one will say that this is impossible), would it not 
be better, not only for Germany and France, but for all mankind ? 
It is, then, clear that while the Papal Note is on many points favor- 
able to France, it is offensive in none, which encourages the hope 
that when the first hasty impression has passed, France will give 
the Papal Note a fairer and more favorable appreciation. 


His Holiness praises the Swiss for their abundant 
charity during the war. 

September 10, 1917 

539. Your common letters have been given to Us, and when 
We read them We felt that your love towards Us was being in- 

131 Original Latin, A.A.S., v. 9, p. 486 (October i, 1917). 


creased, that your former intentions of pleasing Us were being 
strengthened more and more, and finally that even greater hope 
was being nourished that in the future so many of Our unhappy 
sons in Christ would receive by Our aid and industry a harvest of 
benefits. In thanking Us for the manifold care which during the 
whole war We have given captive soldiers, it has pleased you to 
call Switzerland, which is free from slaughter, "an isle of peace," 
truly a beautiful appellation and one most deserved. 

540. We prefer to call your hospitable land "a most beautiful 
theatre of charity," and We bestow this same praise all the more 
willingly because We know that the kindly virtue of the Swiss 
people has made itself a companion to Our paternal char- 


To have international -peace there must be a simultane- 
ous and reciprocal suppression of compulsory military 

September 28, 1917 

541 As for the reciprocal and simultaneous disarma- 
ment universally desired, a true earnest of peace and prosperity, the 
Holy Father, out of deference to the belligerent Powers, did not 
intend in his letter to indicate the means for effecting and main- 
taining this, preferring to leave the determination of such means 
to the Powers themselves; but he considers that the only practical 
and easy way of effecting this is the following: a pact among civil- 
ized nations, including non-belligerents, requiring the simultaneous 
and reciprocal suppression of compulsory military service; the insti- 
tution of a tribunal of arbitration to decide international contro- 
versies; and the imposition of a general boycott as a sanction against 
any nation that might attempt to re-establish obligatory military 
service, or might refuse to submit an international question to 
arbitration or to accept the decision thereon. 

542. Omitting other considerations, the recent example of Eng- 
land and of America proves that voluntary military service certainly 

132 original Italian, Civilth Cattolica, 1919, v. 3, p. 439 (October 4, 1919). 



gives the forces necessary for the maintenance of public order, al- 
though it does not supply the enormous armies which modern war 
requires. Therefore, once obligatory military service has been 
suppressed by common accord and voluntary service introduced in 
its stead, we would have, without any disturbance of public order, 
almost automatically a complete disarmament, with all the benefits 
directly consequent thereon: a lasting international peace (as far 
as that is possible in this world), and the restoration of sound 
finances in the various nations in as short a time as possible, with- 
out speaking of other advantages which need not be enumerated, 
since they are readily foreseen. Compulsory military service has 
been the true cause of so many evils for more than a century; in its 
simultaneous and reciprocal suppression lies the true remedy. And 
since, once suppressed, it could not, even in the actual constitution 
of the Central Empires, be re-established without a law of Parlia- 
ment approving it (an improbable approbation for many reasons), 
we would have not only the word of rulers, but even the guarantee 
of peoples, as requested in recent documents by persons of au- 
thority. ... 


He clarifies and elaborates the various proposals of the 
August i peace note. 

October 7, 1917 

543 Your Grace will have seen my letter to the 

Bishop of Valence, 134 which gives expression to the astonishment 
which I have experienced at the generally hostile attitude of the 
French Press in regard to the Papal Note. In that letter I have 
demonstrated (what was plain from a perusal of the document of 
the Pope) that none of the points indicated by the Holy Father, as 
bases of a just and lasting peace, could be wounding to French 
patriotism. Nay, some of those points are clearly favorable to 
France; and so much so that if any nation is favored in the Papal 

133 Translation from The Tablet, v. 130, pp. 574-575 (November 3, 1917). Original 

French, La Briere, La Patrie et la Paix, pp. 154-159. 

134 See supra n. 536. 



Letter it is not Germany or Austria, but France and Belgium. My 
surprise and astonishment were, therefore, very great. 

544. The Papal document has been represented as inspired by 
the Central Empires, and especially by Austria, But this assertion 
is completely false. The declarations of the Holy See and those of 
the German Chancellor, the replies of the Central Empires, the 
opposition of the Pan-Germanist and conservative Press of Ger- 
many place this point beyond a doubt; and I may add that, owing 
to a wholly involuntary delay in its transmission, the Emperor of 
Austria and his Government were the last to receive the text of the 
Papal Letter. 

545. The genesis of the letter was, besides, very simple -so sim- 
ple that there is no need to have recourse to the idea of any foreign 
inspiration at all. From the declarations made by the statesmen 
and parliaments of the belligerent Powers, the Holy See had noted 
with the liveliest satisfaction that on certain fundamental points 
there was substantial agreement; and it accordingly brought these 
different points together and invited the Powers themselves to define 
and complete them, and to examine them in a spirit of conciliation, 
taking into account as far as possible the aspirations of the peoples 
concerned. There you have the whole purport and purpose of the 
Pope's Letter of August i. 

546. Thus, for example, nearly all the belligerents Russia, 
France, England, Germany and Austria had declared that peace 
should be concluded without indemnities. Russia, Germany and 
Austria made no distinction between the cost of the war and the 
damage wrought by the war, indicating by this that compensation 
for the damage would not be demanded. M. Ribot was the only 
one who declared that in future negotiations for peace France re- 
served to herself the right to claim compensation for the damage 
caused upon her territory unnecessarily and by the fault of the 
military authorities. It is for this reason that in the third point of 
the Papal Appeal the Holy See proposes that there should be, as 
a general rule, reciprocal condonation of the cost and damage 
of the war; but it added that if in any cases there were special rea- 
sons against this, those reasons should be weighed with justice 
and equity. Stated in such general terms, this proposal does not 
exclude the reservations put forward by M. Ribot; and France 
remains free to judge whether, in the hypothesis of her being vic- 


[547-549] BENEDICT XV 

torious, it is worth her while to prolong the war, even for a year, 
in order to exact from Germany compensation for the damage of 
which she has been guilty. 

547. Again, it has been said that the Holy Father, in his capacity 
of supreme judge of morality and justice, ought in the first place 
to have declared which side was wrong and which was right. This 
is a strange criticism, forsooth! In the interest of mankind the 
Holy Father, in his Letter, assumes the office of mediator, and does 
all that is possible to persuade the belligerent nations, each of which 
claims to have right on its side, to lay down their arms, to enter 
into conversation and to become reconciled. Now, is it, I would 
ask, the part of a mediator to decide which of the parties concerned 
is wrong and which is right? If he sought to settle this question, 
is it likely that he would attain the object he proposes, which is 
that of getting the parties to enter on the path of reconciliation 
and peace? 

548. Moreover, and here I pass over some other points of less 
importance, it has been objected that the proposals of the Holy 
Father are not all capable of being realized. And it has been par- 
ticularly pointed out that reciprocal and simultaneous disarmament 
must be placed in the rank of the aspirations destined to remain 
without effect. But disarmament is desired by all without excep- 
tion, as the only means of removing the danger of war, remedying 
the financial difficulties of the nations concerned, and of avoiding 
the social convulsions which are, unless it comes about, only too 
easy to foresee. As soon, however, as it becomes a question of 
the way in which this disarmament is to be effected and main- 
tained, agreement ceases. I have no hesitation in acknowledging 
frankly that none of the systems so far put forward is really prac- 
ticable. And yet there is such a practicable system. 

549. The Holy See, in its Appeal of August i, did not, out of 
deference for the heads of the belligerent nations, think it well 
to point to it, preferring to leave to them the task of deciding on it. 
But, for itself, the practical system and one which is, besides, easily 
applied, given a little good- will, would be something of this sort: 
the suppression, by commoh accord among civilized nations, of 
compulsory military service; the constitution of a Court of Arbitra- 
tion, as was mentioned in the Pope's Appeal, for the solution of 
international questions; and lastly, for the prevention of infrac- 



tions and as a penalty, the establishment o a universal boycott 
against the nation which should seek to set up compulsory military 
service, or should refuse either to submit an international question 
to the Court of Arbitration or to accept its decision. 

550. Lord Robert Cecil has himself, in one of his speeches, fully 
recognized the practical efficacy of such a penalty. And indeed, 
not to mention other considerations, the recent example of England 
and America is evidence in favor of the adoption of this system. 
England and America had voluntary service, but in order to take 
an effective part in the present war, they have been obliged to have 
recourse to conscription. This shows that voluntary service pro- 
vided the men necessary for maintenance of public order (and is 
not public order maintained in England and America as well as, 
if not better than, in other countries?), but it was not able to fur- 
nish the enormous armies needed in modern warfare. So then, 
by the suppression, by common agreement, among civilized nations 
of compulsory service and its replacement by voluntary service, dis- 
armament, with all the happy consequences indicated above, would 
be brought about automatically and without any perturbation of 
public order. 

551. For more than a century conscription has been the real 
cause of a multitude of evils afflicting society, for which a simul- 
taneous and reciprocal suppression of it will be the true remedy. 
And once suppressed, conscription should not be able to be re- 
established except by special law, for which even under the existing 
constitution in the Central Empires, the approval of Parliament 
would be necessary, and that would be very improbable for many 
reasons, and especially owing to the sad experience of the present 
war. Thus we should come to have, for the maintenance of the 
agreement arrived at, just what is so much desired the guarantee 
of the peoples themselves. If, on the other hand, the right of peace 
or war were reserved to the people by way of referendum or at 
least to Parliament, peace between nations would be assured, at least 
so far as is possible in this world. 


[552-553] BENEDICT XV 


The motives behind the papal intervention for peace. 
December 3, 1917 

552. . . . Particularly, however, do We embrace the clear mean- 
ing of your gratitude that We recently suggested reconciliation and 
peace to the rulers of peoples contending with one another; all the 
more, because that proof of paternal love which had suggested 
itself to Us by the consciousness of Our Apostolic duty, by com- 
miseration for common troubles, by love of justice and right no 
less than by love of public tranquillity, We have seen called into 
unworthy suspicion by certain men of prejudiced opinions. Through 
the activity of most wicked factions there is thus stirred up daily 
more and more against the clergy the blind rashness of multitudes 
so that We can now use that expression of the Apostle: We are 
reviled, and we bless; we are persecuted, and we suffer it; we are 
blasphemed, and we entreat Nevertheless, relying on, divine aid, 
We wish to continue constantly to perform the duties of Our office. 
In the meantime, let us not cease, by our humble and suppliant 
prayer, to beg God that He Himself may ultimately deign in His 
mercy to grant that peace which the world cannot give. . . . 



His Holiness grieves that the papal message of peace 
has been misunderstood. 

December 5, 1917 

553- We thank you from Our heart for your common letter of 
homage whereby at the beginning of the meeting at Friesing you 
gave testimony of your supreme obedience and fidelity toward Us. 
For this was no common pleasure, or rather it was a consolation 
to Us, a consolation which indeed you see that We greatly need 
in these bitter times. For to the other anxieties and cares which 

135 Original Latin, A.A.S., v. 10, p. 14 (January 2, 1918). 

136 1 Corinthians, IV, 12-13. 

137 Original Latin, A.A.S., v. 10, p. 15 (January 2, 1918). 



afflict Our soul by the length of this terrible war there is added 
this, namely, that Our exhortation to restore peace, which in truth 
sprang from no other motive than from a sincere desire of public 
good, not only had an effect that We hoped for least of all but 
even was twisted against Us by wicked men into a cause for public 
hatred against Us although it was a proof of Our love. In this 
matter We do not so much complain at the injustice visited upon 
Us for We ought to be always ready to bear insults for the name 
of Jesus as We grieve at the loss of so many souls. Relying, how- 
ever, on the help of Jesus Christ, Who will never be wanting to 
His Church, and imploring from Him an end of such great evils, 
let us, with supreme effort, continue to strive that in the bosom of 
the Church holiness of morals and discipline may flourish more 
and more, , . . 


DINALS. 138 

The Pope laments that the belligerent nations have 
refused to consider his peace proposals. 

December 24, 1917 

554 By now accustomed to celebrate, by the Divine 

Will, with joy tempered by sadness, the most sweet recurrence of 
the holy feast, We were preparing to give voice to the sorrows 
of the father and the anguish of the shepherd, in this fourth war- 
time celebration of the anniversary of the Birth of Our Lord 
Jesus Christ. 

555. Alas! How many souls We saw in sorrow because of the 
present day, how many in fear and darkness because of the morrow! 
As guardian of the Fold that only a false shepherd could bear to 
see fall to destruction, We felt, like Paul, a keen sorrow when 
all Our endeavors to effect a reconciliation among the peoples had 
failed. We were grieved particularly, that the invitation addressed 
by Us to the chiefs of the belligerent peoples had gone unheeded 
not because personal gratification had been denied Us, but be- 
cause the peace of nations had been delayed. 

556. From the most authoritative circles there had been an- 

138 Original Italian, Civilta Cattolica, 1918, v. i, pp. 15-17 (December 28, 1917). 


[557"558] BENEDICT XV 

nounced some essential principles of discussion that could have 
been used as a basis for a common understanding. We had gathered 
these points simply to invite the heads of the belligerent States to 
make them the object of their particular attention, with the sole 
purpose of obtaining more quickly the realization of that wish that 
lies secret and stifled in the hearts of all. However, when We saw 
that We were either unheeded or looked upon with suspicion, We 
could not fail to perceive in Ourselves the signum cui contra- 
dicetur}'^ We were comforted by the hope that Our invitation to 
peace, since it was not one that looked for immediate effects, might 
perhaps be likened to the kernel of wheat of which our Divine 
Master says, Unless the grain of wheat jailing into the ground die, 
itself remaineth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit^ 
Above all, We were comforted by the knowledge that it is Our 
right and obligation to pursue in the world the peace-making mis- 
sion of Jesus Christ. No obstacle and no danger appeared strong 
enough to make Us break Our resolution to do Our duty and to 
exercise the right that belongs to the representative of the Prince 
of Peace. 

557. But We cannot deny that on witnessing the deadly strug- 
gles of nations that were once flourishing but were now being 
driven to the extremes of mutual destruction, and fearing that the 
suicide of European civilization was drawing nearer and nearer, 
We asked in sorrow, "When, and how, will this horrible tragedy 
end?" . . . Opportunely have you spoken, Lord Cardinal, and We 
applaud the fitness of your advice, according to which you look 
upon the present conflict in the light of Faith, and from that Faith 
you derive the firm conviction that the present calamities will not 
come to an end until men return to God. 

558. But in order that the comfort which We are pleased to 
derive from the Christmas greetings of the Sacred College, ex- 
pressed by their Most Eminent Dean, be a messenger of better days, 
We shall not limit Ourselves merely to acknowledge the affirmed 
importance of a return to God, but, with the most earnest and 
heartfelt longing, We desire to hasten the hour of the salutary 
return of contemporary society to the school of the Gospel. "When 
the blind of today shall see, and the deaf shall hear, when every 

139 Luke, II, 34- 
^]ohn, XII, 24-25. 



deviation shall be righted and every roughness smoothed/ 5 when, 
in other words, man and society shall go back to God, then and 
only etLsAall all flesh see the salvation of Godvidebit omnis 
caw salutare Dei 141 and to the poor and to the suffering shall the 
good tidings of peace be announced. Oh! the great lesson that the 
Church repeats to us with the words of the liturgy for these holy 
days! ...... 

559. And to return to God it would be sufficient to go to 
Bethlehem with the single-heartedness of the shepherds; it would 
suffice to hearken to the voice of heaven's messenger above the 
Crib of the Divine. Oh! Peace of Christ, dear to every age that 
possessed you, how much dearer should you be to our age which 
lost you for so long a time! . . . But the Peace announced by the 
angels at Bethlehem countenances neither hatred nor vengeance, 
cupidity nor slaughter ... it is the voice of meekness and forgive- 
ness. ... It is a promise, indeed, it is a reward announced to 
men of good will. Oh! Let this never be forgotten by those who 
see in the annual recurrence of the Christmas celebration an invita- 
tion to return to the Lord by way of Bethlehem! ...... 


Laxity of morals increases with the progress of the war. 
December 27, 1917 

560. It is indeed fitting that the solemn celebration of the three- 
hundredth anniversary of the foundation of the Religious Order 
of the Visitation take place in these tempestuous times. It is evi- 
dent that the cause of so many evils is to be placed especially in 
this fact that too many people have publicly and privately aban- 
doned those Christian precepts and practices which are the very 
foundations o States. For a long time how, but especially since the 
change in French policy, the effort was that the beneficent authority 
of the Church, gradually restricted to a narrower field, should finally 
lose all influence in human society. Moreover, there has been a de- 
termined effort to remove womanhood from the maternal care and 

1<L Ifr,m, 6. 

142 Original Latin, A.AS., v. 10, p. 57 (February i, 1918). 


protection o the Church. Woman has indeed marvelous powers, 
either for good or for bad, upon the fortunes of the human race; for 
if she openly departs from the path of virtue, all training both by 
the family and by the State is easily destroyed. And so one can see 
that when religion has been removed, women have been taught 
to lay aside all modesty and piety. One can see, too, that there are 
many women who, devoting themselves too much to pursuits 
foreign to their nature, have acquired manners of acting which are 
utterly masculine; and that these same women, deserting their 
duties in the home for which they were created, rashly throw them- 
selves into the midst of life's struggle. This is the source of that 
deplorable perversity of morals which the license of the war itself 
has unbelievably increased and widely propagated. As far as has 
been in your power you have opposed this perversion of right 
standards by properly educating girls in Christian wisdom; and 
with God's help your results in this work have been great and 
outstanding. . . . 


Without God's help, men cannot restore order in the 

December 29, 1917 

561. The annual expression of your filial devotion, which you 
sent to Us with happy wishes, comes to Us, not indeed as joyful 
as it might have been, considering the sorrowful times, but never- 
theless as most pleasing and gratifying, since it comes from those 
whom We know to be closely united to Us by ties of long stand- 
ing. Responding to your kindness with that paternal love which 
We have for you and which is at the same time known to you, 
We ask the Divine Infant to pour forth His gifts upon you, espe- 
cially the perfection of them all peace which at His birth He 
brought to all men. For anyone can have this peace in his soul, 
even in the most difficult circumstances. Would that the nations 
of the world would settle this terrible conflict and would become 
sharers of that peace as soon as possible! Yes, men can of their 

143 Original Latin, A.A.S., v. 10, pp. 58-59 (February i, 1918). 


IN OGNI PERIODO [562-563] 

own power throw the whole world into disorder and destroy every- 
thing; but they cannot rebuild again and set things in order unless 
God helps them. Therefore, since peace must be sought from 
heaven, We must continue to pray for it in all Our supplications, 
even though Our frequent exhortations to men have thus far been 
of no avail. Just as you do, We shall constantly commend Our 
prayers to the patronage of the Blessed Virgin. From her the world 
received peace with Christ; under her guidance may it return to 
the possession of that peace which it has so unfortunately lost. . . . 

ADDRESS In Ogni Periodo TO THE ROMAN NoBiLiTY. 144 

The Pope condemns injustice wherever it appears. 
January 5, 1918 

5^2 This year, however, We have a special reason 

to be pleased with the good wishes of the Roman Patriciate and 
Nobility. In this very instant We have heard the worthy repre- 
sentative of this high rank echo Our words, inviting all peoples 
to return to God, in order to hasten the end of the tremendous 
calamity which has afflicted the world for more than three years. 
When in this very hall We sent forth that invitation to the nations 
to return to God, We wished especially that the great ones of the 
world should be the first to answer the appeal, because it is for 
them to go before the little ones with the light of good example. 
To-day the Roman Patriciate and Nobility have come to Us, and, 
celebrating, through the voice of a common interpreter, the civil- 
ization brought by Christ, recognize with Us that the world must 
return to Christ to enjoy the benefits of that civilization. . . . 

563. The joy of Our soul is increased by the certainty that each 
one of you, dearly beloved sons, wishes to run in the way which 
Christian society must follow to return to Christ. This is a way of 
justice and of love. But We have already remarked your zeal for 
justice in the words with which, alluding to the sorrowful events 
which have lately afflicted our country, you have condemned 
methods of war which are not in conformity with the dictates of 
the law of nations. In this also you have associated yourselves 

144 Translation from The Tablet, v. 131, p. 81 (January 19, 1918). Original Italian, 
UOsservatore Romano, January 6, 1918. 



with Us, who, faithful to Our program of condemning injustice 
wherever it appears, have even recently raised Our voice against 
a form of war which, waged on undefended cities, whilst it does 
not obtain results of military value, can make, and indeed has 
made, victims amongst non-combatants, and can and has damaged 
the sacred inheritance of religion and of art, making national hatred 
and lust for vengeance even more keen. We hope that the love of 
justice will follow you ^Iso in every other phase of private and public 
life, and will confirm you in the resolution to render unto God 
that which is due to Him, and to your neighbor that which you 
would wish for yourselves 

LETTER Conspirantibus Adversus TO THE AUSTRIAN BiSHOps. 145 

The Pope endeavors not only to alleviate the cruel 
tragedies of the war but also to hasten its end. 

February 2, 1918 

564. ... It is a very opportune consolation to Us that you 
approve greatly Our manner of action with regard to this calamity 
of war. And indeed it was fitting both to Our Apostolic office 
and to Our charity that We would strive with all Our strength 
not only to alleviate great sorrows but also to urge and to hasten 
the end of this slaughter of Our children. But if this profession 
of your gratitude delights Us, how much, oa the other hand, does 
malevolence pain Us! You know that some went so far that, re- 
jecting Our exhortation to peace, they placed the blame for the 
evils which followed upon that proof of paternal love. However, 
We in this case as in- all others which belong to Our office are 
motivated by religious duty, not by the approval of men: and 
placing all Our hope in Jesus Christ, Who will never abandon His 
Church, there is no reason why We should be moved by these 
difficulties. And so while the war lasts, let Us continue the only 
thing that is left to lighten in some measure so great a burden of 
troubles and griefs by the various offices of Christian charity; and, 
in the meantime, by Our prayers to strive, along with you and with 
all good men, finally to call down peace, the companion of justice, 
from heaven, whence eventually it must be expected. . . . 

145 Original Latin, A.A.S., v. 10, p. 90 (March i, 1918). 




Before the Holy See all nations, large or small, have 
equal rights. 

March 2, 1918 

565. True to its tradition to recognize the same rights for small 
nations as for the large ones, the Holy See will be happy to establish 
immediate friendly relations with the government of Finland. 

DENYS CocHiN. 147 

Cardinal Gasparri tries to dear up French misunder- 
standings concerning the effort of the Holy See to pre- 
vent the deportation of Frenchmen into Germany. 

March 16, 1918 

566. I have duly received your letter of February 22, 148 in which 
you reply to mine of February 18. The sole object of my letter was 
to put a stop to the deportations, and with that object I forwarded 
to you Germany's proposals concerning them. If you think that 
these proposals compromised a principle, and were, therefore, un- 
acceptable, even with reservations on the principle, you have only 
a very simple course to take not to accept them. 

567. You say that the Holy See has no word o reprobation 
for the deportations. Are you quite sure of that? Do you know 
the documents that are in the archives of the Secretary of State? 
As to seeing in my letter any affirmation that Alsace-Lorraine is 
German, that is going altogether too far. When you wrote your 
letter you had plainly lost your customary command of your pen, 
so please allow me to consider your letter as not having been 

146 Original Italian, Osservatore * Romano (March 3, 1918). German translation from 
Lama, Papst und Kurie, p. 430. 

147 Translation from The Tablet, v. 131, pp. 490-491 (April 13, 1918). Italian trans- 
lation from the French original, which we have been unable to find,, Civiltd, 
Cattolica, 1918, v. 2, p. 173 (April 12, 1918). 

148 M. Denys labored under the misapprehension that the proposals offered by Germany 
were made by the Holy See. 


[568-571] BENEDICT XV 


To help in the' reconstruction of Poland the Pope sends 
Achille Ratti as Apostolic Visitor. 

April 25, 1918 

568. In the midst of the great difficulties and anxieties that 
weigh upon Us, brought on by this murderous war that is daily 
increasing in violence, as with new fire added to existing flames, 
the merciful goodness of God permits Us to enjoy at intervals 
some consolation which strengthens within Us the hope that when 
once this huge accumulation of miseries shall have disappeared, 
things will turn out in such wise as to benefit the Catholic Religion 
and the eternal salvation of men. Thus it was that We derived 
no little joy of heart from the letter which you addressed to Us 
on the nth of December last; for after giving the fullest expres- 
sion of your love and reverence for Us, you went on to tell Us of 
the very weighty deliberations you had held in the council of 
bishops convened that very day in Warsaw, with a view to estab- 
lishing on a new basis the Catholic cause in the territory of Poland. 

569. Certainly no one, much less Ourself, could entertain 
any doubt as to your very close union with Us, since it is a fact 
of common knowledge that ever and uninterruptedly, through 
whatever difficult circumstances may have prevailed, you have per- 
severed in communion with the Apostolic See. But We set a greater 
value upon this more recent expression of your devoted attachment 
to Us for this reason, that it comes opportunely at a juncture when 
a more widespread increase of political freedom and a full and 
entire liberty to practice the Faith of their ancestors seem to be 
dawning for the Catholics of Poland. 

570. You are undertaking a highly important and difficult work, 
and it demands that you set aside every division of opinion and 
bring all your powers to bear upon it; if thus .your minds are in 
agreement, the result can only be that, with God's help, the benefits 
to religion will correspond in abundance to the harmony of your 

571. In order to give a public and unmistakable testimony of 
the special care and benevolence We bear towards you and the 

149 Original Latin, Actes de Benoit XV, v. i, pp. 191-193. 


QUARTUS JAM ANNUS [57 2 '57$] 

task that now engages you, as also to receive the expressions o 
good-will in" Our behalf of which you have made profession, We 
have resolved to send to you as Our personal representative, Our 
beloved son, Achille Ratti, Prothonotary Apostolic and Prefect 
of the Apostolic Vatican Library. To him as Apostolic Visitor will 
pertain matters strictly ecclesiastical; We charge him, that is to say, 
with the task of examining into what advice, what powers, what 
remedies the Catholic structure needs in your midst; and in making 
such regulations for it as will seem best under the circumstances, 
he is to be your associate and fellow counselor. Holding, therefore, 
this appointment as intermediary between the Apostolic See and 
the bishops of Poland, he will with greater ease make known to 
Us your desires and communicate to you Our decisions; the result 
of this arrangement will undoubtedly be that the new order of 
things which you have begun to create will be put into effect in 
perfect harmony with Our ideas and your own as well. 

572. There is no need, assuredly to recommend to you a man 
whom his personal piety, his zeal for religion, his practical experi- 
ence in affairs and his universally known learning more than suffi- 
ciently recommend; this, though, We desire you to know: that 
Our confidence in this admirable man is such that We are convinced 
that his labors will prove of very great benefit to your episcopal 
sees. Since, however, human counsels are of no avail unless they 
be seconded by the grace of the omnipotent God, We beseech Him 
with earnest prayers to enlighten and direct your minds with the 
gifts of His heavenly wisdom. . . . 

MOTU PROPRIO Quartus Jam Annus. 150 

All priests must celebrate Holy Mass on June 29 for 
the speedy end of the war. 

May 9, 1918 

573. Already the fourth year is drawing to its close since the 
moment when, soon after the European conflagration had broken 
out, We took up the burden of the Supreme Pontificate; and in all 
this space of time since, the fury of war, instead of decreasing, has 

150 Translation from The Tablet, v. 131, p. 658 (May 18, 1918). Original Latin, 
A.A.S., v. 10, pp. 225-227 (June i, 1918). 


[574"577] BENEDICT XV 

gained continually in strength, the anguish of Our heart has had 
no rest before the terrible evils which have been accumulating. 
Following this tragic sequel of events, not only have We shared 
in the sufferings of all, even to being able to say with St. Paul: 
Who is wea\, and I am not weaf(? Who is made to stumble, and 
1 am not inflamed? 1 * 1 ; but further, as far as has been possible to 
Us, We have omitted nothing which consciousness of the Apostolic 
duty dictated or the charity of Christ suggested to Us. And now 
the condition in which We find Ourself is such that it recalls that 
of King Josaphat when in his anguish he exclaimed: Lord, God 
of our Fathers, Thou art God in heaven, and rulest over all king- 
doms and nations; in Thy hand is strength and power, and no 
one can resist Thee . . . we will cry to Thee in our afflictions, 
and Thou wilt hear and save us. ... our God . . . as we \now 
not what to do, we can only turn our eyes to Thee. 1 " 2 

574. Therefore, laying all Our anxiety in the Hands of God, 1 ** 
Who rules the hearts of men and the course of events, from Him 
alone "Who heals whilst punishing, and forgiving skves," We await 
the end of this terrible scourge, that He may soon give back His 
peace to the world and restore the reign of charity and justice 
among men. 

575. But, before all, must be appeased the just wrath of God, 
caused by the spread of perversity in siri. Humble and suppliant 
prayer, offered with perseverance and trust, will contribute much 
to this end; but more efficacious still in obtaining Divine Mercy is 
the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in which we offer to our Heavenly 
Father Him Who gave Himself in redemption for 0/// 54 and lives 
still to intercede for us. 155 

576. And the Church is right in ordaining that pastors of souls 
shall celebrate on fixed days for the needs of the Christian people 

' when this loving Mother wishes to invoke the mercies of God on 
the needs of her children. And what need can be to-day more 
urgent than this in which all are comprised that tranquillity and 
true brotherhood between peoples may reign again? 

577. It seems, therefore, most opportune to Us to invite to that 

151 II Corinthians, XI, 29. 

152 II Paralipomenon, XX, 6-12. 

153 I Peter, V, 7. 

134 1 Timothy, II, 6. 

155 Hebrews, VII, 25. 



end all pastors to celebrate together with Us on a solemn occasion; 
and, therefore, by this Motu proprio We ordain that on June 29, 
Feast of the holy Apostles, Peter and Paul, help and patrons of 
Christendom, all priests who are under the obligation of celebrat- 
ing pro populo shall offer the Holy Sacrifice for this Our inten- 
tion, and furthermore let all other priests of both branches of the 
clergy know that they will be doing an act most pleasing to Us 
if they also, celebrating on that day, will unite their intention to 
Ours. Thus will the whole Catholic priesthood, in union with 
the Vicar of Christ, offer on every altar of the world the Host of 
propitiation and love, and by doing violence together to the Heart 
of God, will strengthen the hope that at length that for which all 
people long may be realized: Justice and peace have 


BARDY. 157 

The papal peace efforts have been scandalously misin- 
terpreted by the enemies of the Church. 

May 22, 1918 

578. In the profound sorrows of the present time, the collective 
letter which you sent Us on the 25th of April last has brought Us 
no small comfort. In your meeting, as those responsible for the 
government of the Church in the province of Lombardy, you at 
once felt that "the Father could not be absent from a meeting of 
the brethren;" therefore, with ardent affection you called for Us 
to be present in your midst, confirming with most noble words 
your union with and attachment to Us, which are all the stronger 
"in that in the present upheaval of society the enemies of religion 
are attacking the supreme authority of Jesus Christ entrusted to 
him whom God constituted teacher and upholder of justice." 

579. Over and above the unutterable horrors of this war which 
is without precedent, and threatens to drag poor Europe down into 
the abyss, much grief is caused Us by the insidious and crafty cam- 
paign of calumny and hatred against Our person and Our work, 

156 Psalms, LXXXIV, 11- 

157 Translation from The Tablet, v. 131, p. 800 (June 22, 1918). Ongmal Latin, 

, v. 10, pp. 273-275 (July i, 1918). 

[580-581] BENEDICT XV 

while We could conscientiously say to the human race, bathed in 
its own blood, in the words of sacred Scripture: What is there that 
I ought to do more to my vineyard, that I have not done to it? 158 

580. After the outbreak of this conflagration, which for the 
good of all We wished could have been averted, as far as was 
in Our power We missed no opportunity of doing or attempting 
anything that might soften and mitigate the terrible consequences. 
More than once, and especially in the Consistorial Allocution at 
the beginning of 1915, and again more explicitly in the other of 
December 4 in the following year, We reproved, as again now We 
reprove, every kind of violation of right wherever it may be per- 
petrated. In addition to that, with exhortations, public prayers, 
expiatory functions, with proposals for a just and lasting peace, 
We studied to bring nearer the end of this awful slaughter. In spite 
of that, Beloved Son and Venerable Brothers, you know well the 
crazy and absurd calumnies which, under many and varied forms, 
publicly and secretly, by word of mouth and in writing, are being 
spread everywhere. In the country and the villages, where sorrow 
is deepest, and on that account more deserving of regard and re- 
spect, it is being said that We desired the war; in the cities, on 
the other hand, it is spread about that We desire peace, but an 
unjust peace which would be an advantage only to one of the 
belligerent groups. And Our words are so twisted, Our thoughts 
and intentions so suspected, Our silence with regard to this or that 
misdeed is so scandalously misinterpreted, as if in such a state of 
uncertainty, and when passion is so fiercely aroused, it were easy 
or even possible to inflict single condemnations on single facts 
which, by a condemnation pronounced by Us in virtue of a general 
all-embracing principle, have, every one of them, already been re- 
proved, and surely with fairer judgment. 

581. But this campaign of hatred is not confined to Ourself and 
Our work. The gravest injury is done also to most highly deserv- 
ing priests and illustrious bishops in casting doubt on their loyalty 
to their country; by the lowest devices of persecutors and informers, 
attempts are made to take them by surprise, to defame them and 
bring them into the courts. And so, at the very moment when Italy 
should have so much need of peace and concord among all citizens, 
the enemies of religion, actually taking advantage of this unhappy 

2 5 2 


time, are striving to stir up the ignorant and simple multitude 
against this Seat of truth and justice, against the clergy, against the 
Catholics, sowing the seeds of discord among the different social 

582. But though this perverse campaign causes Us deepest sor- 
row, still it does not surprise Us or discourage Us; much less does 
it enfeeble Us. Far from it. Called by the hidden counsels of Divine 
Providence to govern the Church, We have profound feeling of 
Our duty to defend its sanctity and safeguard its honor. And, there- 
fore, against this diffusion of calumnies and hatred We, too, together 
with you, Beloved Son and Venerable Brethren, protest anew with 
the voice of Our Divine Ministry, and We denounce it before the 
conscience, not only of the faithful, but of all honest men 


CANADA. 159 

All language controversies should be solved in the 
spirit of charity. 

June 7, 1918 

583. In Our Apostolic letter, Commisso Divinitus which We 
sent you on September 8, 1916, We earnestly exhorted the clergy 
and Catholic people of your country that they should lay aside all 
contentions and quarrels which have arisen either by reason of race 
or from diversity of languages. At the same time We urged that 
if controversies should thereafter occur from these causes they should 
be restricted as charity requires, as it becomes saints careful to 
serve the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace 

584. Now the time has come to address Our words to all Our 
brethren, the bishops of the Dominion of Canada, and to repeat 
to them from the depths of Our soul the exhortation which We 
gave two years since: that they be of one heart and of one mind 
and that there may be no division among them by reason either 
of racial origin or of speech. For one and the same Spirit set them 
to rule the Church of God, the Spirit of unity and of peace. Thus 

159 Translation from Eppstein, The Catholic Tradition of the Law oj Nations, p. 388. 

Original Latin, A~A.S., v. 10, pp. 44&-44 1 (November 2, 1918). 

160 See supra n. 464. 


[585-586] BENEDICT XV 

will it be right for you, being made a pattern of the flocf^ from the 
heart}^ with greater authority and efficacity, Venerable Brethren, 
to order your priests (and We enjoin that this order be strictly 
given) both to observe spiritual concord amongst themselves and 
strive by word and example to have it preserved by the faithful. 
To which end We desire again and again to recommend what in 
earlier Apostolic letters We have recommended, "that all the priests 
should seek to acquire the habit of speaking competently each of 
the two languages, English and French, and casting all prejudices 
aside, should use now one, now the other to meet the needs of 
the faithful" 


The Pope realizes that his efforts for peace will be 
appreciated by j air -minded men after the war. 

July 26, 1918 

585 . . Appropriately you recall what We have done 

from the very beginning of Our Pontificate, with the help of God, 
toward lessening the sorrows of this cruel war and hastening its 
end. Indeed, paying no attention to those attacks and that con- 
tumely, We shall persevere in Our efforts for human society, for 
We well know that Our advice and Our acts will be approved 
by all fair-minded men as instinct with justice and charity when 
affairs and minds have been tranquillized 



The Swiss Bishops are congratulated for their zeal in 
behalf of the captives. 

October 13, 1918 

586, ... As regards the pleasing news which you have given 
Us regarding those captives, who, at Our request, are kept along 

161 1 Peter, V, 3. 

162 Translation from Irish Ecclesiastical Record, ser. 5, v. 12, p. 338 (October, 1918), 

Original Latin, Irish Ecclesiastical Record, ser. 5, v. 12, p. 337 (October, 1918). 

163 Original Latin, A.A.S., v. 10, p. 448 (November 2, 1918). 



the Swiss border because of their health, We are grateful to you in 
return, Venerable Brethren, who, spurred on by the love of Christ, 
have always been accustomed zealously to help Us to alleviate their 
suffering. We pray that God may reward you by an abundance 
of His gifts. . . . 

SAW. 164 

Benedict XV wishes io see Poland restored to full 

October 15, 1918 

587. In the grave crisis which is passing over Europe, We 
cannot resist the promptings of Our affection to send to you and 
to the noble Polish nation a word of comfort and hope. History 
has recorded in letters of gold what Poland has done for Christianity 
and for European civilization; but, alas, it also has to record the 
evil with which Europe has repaid its merits. After having violently 
despoiled it of political independence, it has endeavored in certain 
quarters to deprive it of its Catholic Faith and its very nationality; 
but with admirable resistance, the Poles have known how to pre- 
serve both one and the other, and today, after surviving an oppres- 
sion of more than a century, Polonia semper fidelis is more active 
than ever. 

588. The Holy See, which loved Poland at the height of its 
glory, loves it still more, if that be possible, in the depths of its 
misfortunes, even as a mother's love for her children increases with 
their increasing unhappiness. We cannot but recall that the only 
one, during the dismemberment of Poland, who set himself to 
maintain, though in the event without success, the nationality and 
independence of Poland, was Pope Clement XIV, of happy memory, 
who wrote to all the Catholic sovereigns in the strongest of terms. 
It is well also to record the fact that, during the long years of Polish 
martyrdom, while others merely watched in silence the oppressor's 
exercise of brutal force, Our Predecessors, Gregory XVI and Pius IX, 
lifted their voices in vigorous protest in behalf o the oppressed. 

164 Translation from America, v. 20, p. 356 (January 18, 1919)- Original Italian, 
Civilta Cattolica, 1918, v. 4, p. 430 (November 29, 1918). 


[589-59 1 ] BENEDICT xv 

When the story of the Catholic Church in Poland during the 
eighteenth century is published, with the authentic documents in 
Our archives, and We hope it will appear soon, more light will 
be thrown on the indescribable sufferings of the Polish people and 
the unceasing, truly maternal solicitude of the Holy See to render 
them assistance. 

589. But, infinite thanks be to the Lord, the dawn of the resur- 
rection of Poland is at last appearing. It is Our ardent desire that 
it may be restored to its full independence at the earliest possible 
date, and that it may take its place in the congress of nations and 
continue its history as a civil and Christian nation; and it is Our 
fond hope that at the same time all the other nations, non-Catholic 
nations included, that have hitherto been subject to Russia, may be 
allowed to decide their own lot and develop and prosper according 
to their native genius and their own individual resources. 

590. In the hope of seeing the realization of these wishes of 
Ours in the near future, We desire, in addition to the provision 
We have recently made for an enlarged and more adequate estab- 
lishment of the Catholic hierarchy in that land, to give to you, 
Venerable Brother, and through you to the Polish people, a further 
and more solemn proof of Our good-will and confidence; and to 
this end it is Our purpose, at the first Consistory which the Lord 
shall grant Us to hold, to elevate you to the cardinalate 


QUEBEC. 165 

The Pope in urging peace ma^es no distinction among 
the belligerents. 

October 16, 1918 

591. ... This fury of arms had already broken out in Europe 
when We were elevated to the Supreme Pontificate: and since it 
was not allowed to Us to limit that outbreak, much less to repress 
it, We began to try the one thing that remained, namely, to lessen 
the misfortunes connected with this great evil so far as We were 
able. Hence, Our various plans and charitable services for lessening 
miseries and distress. 

165 Original Latin, A.A.S., v. 10, p. 449 (November 2, 1918). 


592. In enumerating these services you rightly affirm that We, 
in performing them, have made no distinction among the bel- 
ligerents. In accordance with that same design, which would be 
salutary for all nations, to the end that slaughter and destruction 
might be terminated. We, as often as seemed proper^ have urged 
peace, and a peace in harmony with justice. You have supported 
Our position in an outstanding manner, being grieved that the 
voice and exhortation of a Father was neglected, then in particular 
when he had proposed those points which alone seemed capable 
of securing a settlement of hostilities. Indeed, We were taken aback 
that Our charity was answered in this way; for who would believe 
that what had proceeded from Us as a duty of Our love to reconcile 
men with one another would be turned against Us and become a 
matter of public hatred? Although in this affair the wickedness 
of certain men who bitterly accused Us to the public of favoritism 
for one side or the other, is not so much to be wondered at as the 
rashness of many who gave credence to a most ridiculous charge. 

593. Now We most joyfully learn from your letter that this 
fickleness of judgment is in no wise to be reprehended in the case 
of Canadian Catholics of both tongues, who have always with one 
mind and voice agreed with Us about this war. . . . 


Peace deliberations must be approached in good will. 
November 6, 1918 

594. The letter sent by Your Eminence, in the name of the 
bishops who are accustomed to gather annually at Fulda, awakened 
the most profound compassion in the heart of the Holy Father. 
In it you related vividly the sufferings of the German people in 
this dreadful war and begged him to use his influence in behalf 
of the German fatherland, which you saw threatened in its very 

595. Inspired by that love that draws him especially to his 
troubled and suffering children, the Holy Father well understands 

166 German text from Lama, Papst und Kurie, p. 5. Lama's reference to the Osserva- 
tore Romano, December 6, 1918, is a mistake because we have searched in vain 
through the November and December issues for this letter. 


[596-597] BENEDICT XV 

and feels the full bitterness of the sorrow that fills Your Eminence 
and your zealous colleagues. From the depth of his heart he im- 
plores the Lord God to give you consolation and strength. 

596. During the war the Holy Father did not cease to deplore 
injustices and cruelties, no matter which side committed them. 
He did not tire in imploring the warring sides to abandon their 
intentions of destroying one another and to turn instead to charity 
and mercy. Thus, too, in the present overwhelming events, he has 
repeatedly turned to the leader of a large warring State and adjured 
him by the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the world, 
to approach the armistice proposal and peace deliberations in good 
will, so that a peace, just and honorable for all, might ensue. May 
the Almighty bless these efforts; may He in His boundless mercy 
soon grant the hard-tried people of Germany the good fortune of 
a just and lasting peace. As security there is the Apostolic Blessing 
which His Holiness grants all the German dioceses and their 
Venerable Shepherds. . . . 


OF STATE. 167 

The Pope rejoices in the Austrian-Italian peace nego- 

November 8, 1918 

597. After the last fortunate successes of the Italian arms, the 
enemies of this Apostolic See, firm in their determination to use 
to its detriment happy as well as unhappy events, have endeavored, 
and are still endeavoring, to excite against it Italian public opinion 
which is rejoicing in the victory attained, as if forsooth the Supreme 
Pontiff was in his heart displeased thereat. You, Lord Cardinal, 
through daily intercourse, are well aware of Our sentiments, as 
also of the practice and teaching of the Church in similar circum- 
stances. In the letter of August i, 1917, to the rulers of the different 
belligerent Powers, We expressed the hope, which, indeed, was 
repeated later on other occasions, that the territorial questions be- 
tween Austria and Italy might find a solution in conformity with 


167 Translation from The Tablet, v. 132, p. 579 (November 23, 1918). Original 
Italian, A.A.S., v. 10, pp. 478-479 (December 5, 1918). 



the just aspirations of the peoples; and recently We have given 
instructions to Our Nuncio at Vienna to establish friendly rela- 
tions with the different nationalities of the Austro-Hungarian Em- 
pire which have constituted themselves into independent States. 
In fact, the Church, a perfect society, which has for its one and 
only aim the sanctification of men in all times and all countries, 
while it adapts itself to different forms of government, so it accepts 
without any difficulty the legitimate territorial and political varia- 
tions of the peoples. We believe that if these judgments and appre- 
ciations of Ours were more generally known, no person of good 
sense would persist in attributing to Us a regret for which there 
is no foundation. But We cannot deny that a cloud still disturbs 
the calmness of Our mind because hostilities have not yet ceased 
everywhere, and the clash of arms still gives rise in many places 
to anxiety and fear. But We hope that it will not be long before 
the happy dawn of peace which has arisen also over Our beloved 
country rejoices the other warring peoples, and We foretaste the 
sweetness of that day, now not far off, in which charity will return 
to reign amongst men, and universal concord will unite the nations 
in a league fruitful of good. Meanwhile We are glad to confirm 
to you, Lord Cardinal, Our special benevolence, a new pledge of 
which shall be the Apostolic Benediction which We impart to you 
with deep and very special affection. 



Catholics are requested to pray for the coming peace 
conference that from it a just and lasting peace may 

December i, 1918 

598. That which the entire world has so long sighed for, what 
Christianity implored with so much fervent prayer, and what We, 
the interpreter of the sorrow of all, with the heart of a father, 
continually kept asking for, has come in a moment. The clang 
of arms has ceased at last. It is true that peace has not yet formally 

168 Translation from The Catholic Mind, v. 17, pp. 67-68 (February 8, 1919)- Original 
Latin, A.A, f v. io> pp. 473-474 (December 5, 1918), 




put an end to the war. However, with the armistice, which has 
meantime suspended carnage and devastation by land, sea and air, 
the road to peace is fortunately clear. 

599. In order to explain such a sudden event several causes 
might be adduced. But if we want to seek the principal cause, we 
absolutely must look to Him Who governs all occurrences, Who, 
led to mercy by the continual prayers of the good, granted humanity 
to withdraw from so many struggles and so many causes of anguish. 
Therefore, while giving thanks to the goodness of the Lord, we 
rejoice at the many imposing demonstrations of piety that have 
been held throughout the Catholic world for the purpose. 

600. Now it remains to us to beg of Divine Clemency that the 
great favor granted to us may have its crowning success. Within 
a short time the delegates of the several nations will unite in solemn 
congress for the purpose of giving to the world a just^ and lasting 
peace. They will accordingly have to come to decisions of such 
grave importance and of so complex a nature as were never before 
taken by any human assembly. 

601. It is, then, not necessary to point out how imperative it is 
that they receive light from above in order to execute properly their 
mandate. And since there is question of decisions that concern the 
weal of all humanity to the highest degree, without any doubt all 
Catholics, who are in conscience bound to favor order and the 
progress of civilization, have the obligation of invoking the Divine 
aid for those who take part in the Peace Conference. We wish this 
duty to be remembered by all Catholics. Therefore, Venerable 
Brothers, in order that the fruit of the approaching congress may 
be that great gift o heaven, which is true peace founded upon 
the Christian principles of justice, it will be your care to announce 
public prayers in each parish of your respective dioceses in that 
form which you will consider timely, to implore for it the light of 
the Heavenly Father. 

602. As far as We Ourselves are concerned, representing, how- 
ever unworthily, Jesus Christ, the King of Peace, We shall use all 
the influence of Our Apostolic Ministry so that the decisions that 
may be arrived at for the purpose of perpetuating tranquillity, good 
order and concord in the world may be accepted and faithfully 
followed everywhere by Catholics. . . . 


E LA QUINTA VOLTA [603-606] 


NALS. 169 

Benedict XV prays that God's blessing be upon the 
Versailles Peace Conference. 

December 24, 1918 

603. This is the fifth time that the happy recurrence of the 
Christmas solemnity has united about Us the distinguished circle 
of the Sacred College, but it is in reality the first in which We 
are able to accept from it with joy the best wishes of the season. 

604. Our soul is no longer wrung with bitterness and anxiety 
over a sad condition of affairs' which was so opposed to that mes- 
sage of peace and of love proper to this sweet feast. Lord Cardinal, 
with what sublimity and nicety of language, so familiar to your 
lips, have you offered to Us in the name of the Sacred College, 
a wish which seems more fitting at the present time than any 
other and which certainly corresponds better than any other to 
the sentiments of Our souk 

605. With the liveliest pleasure have We indeed received your 
augury that there may be multiplied always the fruits of that 
spiritual fatherhood which, in a special way, We possess from God, 
from Whom all fatherhood in heaven and on earth receives its 
name and which desires to imitate, as far as is possible, the 
inexhaustible charity and continual beneficence of God. We are 
grateful to the Most Eminent Dean of the Sacred College for having 
pointed out in this fatherhood of Ours the prime font of the activity 
We have exercised during the days of the great scourge which has 
finally ceased only a short time ago, and with all sincerity We 
offer to him and to his Most Eminent colleagues the return of good 
wishes and prayers, in testimony also of Our gratitude for the 
delicate reference which has just been made to Our sorrows and to 
Our cares of a private and domestic nature. 171 

606. Upon the heights of the Vatican there have come, alas, 
the sorrowing cries of these years of war; there have come the 
groans of the victims of the daily slaughter; there have come the dis- 

169 Original Italian, Civil ta Cattolica, 1919, v. I, pp. 63-67 (December 28, 1918). 
in Epfonans,Vl t 15. 

71 Benedict XV refers to the death of his brother, Marquis Giovanni Antonio della 
Chiesa on December 9. 


[607-609] BENEDICT XV 

Dressing pleas that the end of the horrible conflict be not long 
delayed. And may the Lord be praised that He gave Us the power 
of being a father and of acting as one, and that more than once He 
made Our weakness the instrument of His merciful power. 

607. Hence it was that We longed for and frequently obtained 
the mitigation of those sorrows which found their echo in Our 
paternal heart; hence it was that with the urging as well as the 
restraint of a father, We deplored and condemned the excesses 
of brutal hate, leaving open, however, at the same time the way 
to a further examination in accord with the ever certain duties of 
Our compassionate fatherhood; hence it was also that We directed 
Our forces and Our suggestions to hasten the dawn of peace by 
recalling the principles of the unchanging and eternal Justice of 
Christ, the supreme Law-giver of civil society, and the Source, 
not of possible repression but rather of the complete restoration 
of every right, 

608. That fatherhood which was the norm in Our counsels, in 
Our condemnations, in Our judgments and in Our good works 
of the past, the same guides Us also in Our conduct of the present 
hour. Oh, while We embrace all Our children, tired at length 
of conflict and of slaughter, Our thoughts fly to that great confer- 
ence of the nations 172 assembled for the noble purpose of securing 
peace to the world. And, nourishing in Our breast the warmest 
interest in the happy outcome of the arduous tasks set before the 
illustrious assembly, We wish with all Our heart that above its 
sessions may hover that spirit of which We are the custodian, and 
to this sublime intention We dedicate all Our longings and all the 
support of Our fatherly heart. 

609. But since every best grace and every perfect gift comes 
down from the Father of lights alone, from the Vatican Hill We 
shall every day invoke the assistance of that celestial light upon 
the historic congress imitating Moses who, for the sake of his 
people, ascended the mountain and prayed with outstretched arms 
during the momentous time of battle. With heart and arms raised 
to the Divine Majesty, that ancient leader guided his dear people 
to triumphant success; will not Our prayers, then, hasten the noon- 
day of that peace whose radiant dawn We now hail? But Our 
arms, like those of Moses, are weary and heavy, and they would 

172 The Conference at Versailles. 



falter were they not sustained by those sons who, according to 
the plan of Divine Providence, are like the staff by which the 
father is supported. Hence, just as Aaron and Hur ascended the 
mountain with Moses and upheld the arms of their leader on either 
side, stayed up his hands on both sides so We have bid the 
Christian world to come to Our aid by ordering that in accord 
with the circumstances of the various localities, united prayers of 
propitiation be raised to heaven for this most momentous of con- 
gresses. In the midst of, and participating in these prayers, accord- 
ing to His unfailing promise, will be the Divine Head of the 
Church Himself, who will contribute to their success that same 
force which the hands of his disciples secured to the extended 
arms of Moses. 

610. However, prayer is not the only means by which We in- 
tend that Our fatherhood should be manifested at the present time. 
For to it We join Our entreaties toward hastening both the assem- 
bling and the happy conclusion of the peace congress; We join 
to it the desire by which, not content with showing Our fatherly 
interest in , the great event, We express again the hope that the 
deliberations of the congress will consider not only the restoration 
of order, but also the renewal of those humane sentiments which 
make it pleasant to dwell in harmony with our brethren and even 
to sacrifice ourselves for them. Above all, to prayer which is the 
most noteworthy form which Our fatherhood takes at the present 
hour, We join the firm resolve to secure to the just deliberations 
of the world congress the support of Our influence among the faith- 
ful, so that just as We have children everywhere, so also everywhere 
may be facilitated through the help of Our fatherhood, the observ- 
ance of those decisions which may be made to give to the world a 
just and Jasting peace. 

611. But the announcemeAt of this resolve of Ours, as well as 
of what ought to be carried out in the future, already makes it clear 
that, if in the past and the present We have held Our fatherhood 
as the norm of Our activities, We do not intend to seek elsewhere 
for Our future directives. We have been a father in the past; We 
are a father in the present; and We shall be a father in the future 
as long as life remains to Us, looking always, as the rule and guide 
of Our work, to that fatherhood which God has confided to Us, 

173 Exodus, XVTI, 12. 


[612-614] BENEDICT XV 

and which is all-embracing like that of which it is a participated 

612. Now this fatherhood of Ours makes Us rejoice exceed- 
ingly over the good which We hope will come from peace restored, 
and strongly urges Us to secure by every means its protection and 
increase. The dreadful tempest which has passed over the earth 
has left behind it very sad traces of its havoc. But it is even more 
to be feared that it has left in the hearts of men distressing vestiges 
of ancient rancors, unwholesome germs of discord, of revenge, and 
of ungenerous reprisals. The very ardors of war, and the burning 
desire noble in its origin of defending one's country, inflame 
the soul with an indignation, however just it be in its beginnings, 
which, in its final consequences, can too easily lead to excess by 
not stifling but rather strengthening with new life the ancient seeds 
of social discord which it should desire to be remedied in justice. 
Will not that be the work of a father which We shall, in order to 
secure the just and lasting peace which We have always extolled, 
direct toward repairing the moral evils of the war not less than 
the material havoc of the dreadful scourge? "It will be the work 
of a father to remove the dangers of fresh disturbances of order 
such as might quickly arise from hatreds and intense national 
aspirations. Oh, fortunate will be Our age, if it shall behold the 
kiss of justice and of peace accompanied by the spirit of charity, 
since only the law of love joins in a marvelous union the children 
of the same father, and forms of men of good-will one real family. 
Fear, want, material force oh, how experience has shown this 
to us in lessons of blood are not only inadequate bonds, but also 
unworthy of human society. Social unity to be reasonable must be 
founded on natural benevolence; to be Christian it must be ennobled 
by the charity of Christ. 

613. To make this charity flourish once more in the midst of 
nations, We shall, therefore, direct Our desires and Our fatherly 
care, in order that it may be evident that Our fatherhood, which 
has remained constant in the past and is steadfast in the present, 
shall likewise continue unfailing in the future. 

614. It pleases Us to hope that Our efforts can become the 
echo of those deliberations which very soon will be undertaken by 
the peace congress toward which turn at present the aspirations of 



all hearts. But in the task of restoring society, just as We are able 
to count upon the wisdom and advice of the Senate of the Church, 
so also We are confident of finding docile and generous helpers in 
all those who desire to promote Catholic Action. The care and in- 
struction of children, the protection and prudent direction of 
working-men, the opportune advice and suggestion given to the 
well-to-do to use properly their riches and authority here is the 
field in which for the future the task of a father should be princi- 
pally exercised; and here it is where the Father hopes to have his 
sons as helpers in order to reap together with them abundant fruits 
of true Catholic Action 


DINALS. 174 

Benedict XV is especially concerned over the suffering 
Eastern Peoples. 

March 10, 1919 

615 As long as the terrible war lasted We made 

every effort in Our power to alleviate the immense miseries by 
which the peoples living in the territories of Russia, the Balkans 
and Turkey were oppressed. For We saw there an entire people 
massacred, almost exterminated, crowds of poor wretches leaving 
their homes, taking refuge in the mountains and falling victims 
to hardship and famine; in other places Christian communities 
scattered, priests driven out or imprisoned, churches, monasteries, 
schools, hospices converted to profane uses, ecclesiastical and private 
property brought to ruin and destruction. All that was in Our 
power We did to remedy these evils without any distinction of 
nationality or religion. Our anxiety was, above all, for the Armeni- 
ans and the inhabitants of Syria and the Lebanon, as those whom 
We had seen most often persecuted by deportations, exposed to 
the tortures of hunger, and even slaughtered en masse. 

616. And, therefore, on behalf of the Armenians in general 
and in particular those condemned to death or in any need of 
Our help, personally and repeatedly We appealed to the Emperor 

174 Translation from The Tablet, v. 133, pp. 353-354 (March 22, 1919)- Original 
Latin, A.A.S., v. n, pp. 99-101 (March 12, 1919). 


[617-618] BENEDICT XV 

of the Ottomans or urgently put their case before those sovereigns 
who seemed to Us to have most influence over him. We succeeded 
thus, by Divine aid, in preventing massacres in several places and 
in saving many lives. Moved by compassion for the many orphans 
of Armenia, We opened a refuge for them in Constantinople. As 
regards Syria and the Lebanon, in order to prevent horrors which 
were feared and to provide food for the inhabitants there, We ap- 
pealed for the intervention and help of various Governments. All 
sufferers in the Orient, in fact, We endeavored to help with the 
material and moral means in Our power, assisted in Our task by 
the zeal of Our representatives. And even now that the armistice 
has come and the clash of war has ceased, Our anxiety is still keen 
on behalf of the Christians of the Orient. For serious political up- 
heavals and rekindled struggles of nationalities are hindering there 
the normal development of civil and religious life, especially among 
the subject peoples of the Russian Empire, where the proclamation 
of religious liberty had aroused such hopes of a better future. In 
the other parts of the Orient, too, there appears before Our eyes 
the sad spectacle of missions dispersed, Christian communities 
robbed of churches and pastors, peoples in prey of political con- 
vulsions fighting among themselves for the first necessaries of life. 

617. But there is one matter on' which We are most specially 
anxious, and that is the fate of the Holy Places, on account of the 
special dignity and importance for which they are so venerated by 
every Christian. Who can ever tell the full story of all the efforts 
of Our Predecessors to free them from the dominion of infidels, 
the heroic deeds and the blood shed by the Christians of the West 
through the centuries? And now that, amid the rejoicing of all 
good men, they have finally returned into the hands of the Chris- 
tians, Our anxiety is most keen as to the decisions which the Peace 
Congress at Paris- is soon to take concerning them. For surely it 
would be a terrible grief for Us and for all the Christian faithful 
if infidels were placed in a privileged and prominent position; much 
more if those most holy sanctuaries of the Christian religion were 
given into the charge of non-Christians. . . . 

618. ... Helpless, deprived of all they have, those poor souls 
are stretching out to Us suppliant arms, imploring not only food 
and clothing but the rebuilding of their churches, the re-opening 
of their schools, the restoration of their missions. To this end We 


EURE EMINENZ [619-622] 

have for Our part already set aside a certain sum, and most will- 
ingly would We give more if the present poverty of the Holy See 
allowed. But it is Our intention to excite the interest of the bishops 
of the whole Catholic world that they may take to heart such a 
noble and holy cause, arousing among all the faithful that sense of 
active chanty which their ancestors always showed toward their 
brethren of the Orient 


The Pope labors to effect the return of the German war 

March 10, 1919 

619. Your Eminence has related to Us in moving words the 
sufferings of numerous families who, while they see war prisoners 
of foreign nations joyfully leaving Germany, are themselves tor- 
tured by the fearful uncertainty concerning the time when they 
will again embrace their dear ones, whose help and consolation they 
need the more, as the times become more woeful. 

620. Your Eminence knows with what unceasing care We have 
attempted to dry so many tears in this war. You will, therefore, 
readily understand how heavily these pains and sufferings also 
redound in Our paternal heart, and how happy We would be if 
We would succeed in securing redress/ 

621. Last November, after the signing of the armistice. Our 
Cardinal Secretary of State took steps with several States of the 
Allies on behalf of the German war prisoners, namely, the sick and 
the wounded. The following month he repeated, always in Our 
name, his efforts in the most loving manner, to improve the con- 
dition of many unfortunate ones and to assure them more spiritual 
help through German priests. We turned Our attention sympatheti- 
cally, too, to the prisoners who are nearer to Us, and asked the 
bishops of the Italian dioceses and the army bishops to give these 
all 'possible care. 

622. On a festive occasion a little later, We expressed to a noted 

175 German text from Lama, Papst und Kuric, pp. 114-115. 


[623-624] BENEDICT XV 

person 176 Our ardent desire to see the hundreds and thousands o 
German prisoners who had endured the sufferings of imprisonment 
for a long time, brought back to their own firesides. We had the 
satisfaction of hearing that this person fully shared Our loving 
wishes and was inclined to support them. Since then the Cardinal 
Secretary of State has issued an urgent appeal to one of the allied 
States to win its interest for this thoroughly charitable and humane 
work, and We are still awaiting an answer. 

623. May the good and merciful God bless these efforts which 
We shall continue unceasingly with that zeal and love which Our 
divine mission and sincere sympathy for those unhappy souls in- 
spire in Us. May the King of Peace grant to the many sorrowing 
families the first precious fruits that they had hoped for in this so 
ardently desired peace. 


The Vatican is deeply concerned over the critical situa- 
tion in Hungary. 

March 12, 1919 

624. Many anxieties have been brought to Us by so cruel and 
so long a war; but nothing makes Us more anxious and solicitous 
than the fact that the disturbances resulting therefrom have over- 
flowed not only into civil society but even into the religious affairs 
of nations. Particularly, however, are We concerned over the great 
misfortunes of those peoples who made- up the Austro-Hungarian 
Empire, and who are now each striving after that form of govern- 
ment which corresponds to the wishes of individual nations. For 
since an important part of the flock divinely entrusted to Us is 
contained in these peoples, and a part which has always been out- 
standing for its faith and great devotion towards this Apostolic See, 
it is easy to understand that We are concerned in a special way 
that religion among them suffer no harm. We sincerely hope that 
all those men who govern those States, while they are anxious to 

176 This was Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States, who had an audience 

with Benedict XV on January 4, 1919. 

177 Original Latin, A.A.S., v. n, p. 122 (April I, 1919). 



establish peace and prosperity for their peoples, will see to it that 
they preserve intact the rights and laws of the Church, if they truly 
wish the foundations of justice in civil society and of the public 
good to stand safe and sound. Now, nobody is unaware how much 
the Apostolic See has at heart the internal peace and good of na- 
tions and how ready it always is to lend its aid to accomplish this. 
Even more, to achieve this end better, it is accustomed to enter into 
mutual unions or relations with the legitimate rulers of States who 
have signified that they have the same desire themselves. . . . 


The Holy See pleads for the persecuted Orthodox. 
March 12, 1919 

625. . . . The Holy Father adjures you to give strict orders that 
the servants of every religion be respected. Humanity and religion 
will be grateful to you. 

LETTER C'Est avec la Plus Vive Complaisance TO CARDINAL 

The Pope has special sympathy and compassion for the 
people of Belgium. 

April 3, 1919 

626 Your letter recalls the long series of calamities 

which have fallen upon your well-beloved country, the unfortunate 
consequences of which are still being experienced. With great deli- 
cacy of heart you recall also Our solemn protestations against the 
injustices and violations of law committed with regard to Belgium, 
as well as Our efforts to alleviate such great sufferings, and you 
stress especially your unfailing confidence in Our action. 

627. This confidence, certainly, was not without foundation. 
As a matter of fact, while being animated with that universal 
charity which binds Us to all Our children .overwhelmed with 
affliction and sorrow, that charity which has its source in the very 

178 German text from Lama, Papst und Kurie, p. 368. 

179 Original French, Documentation Catholique, v. j, pp. 647-648 (June 21, 1919)* 


[628-631] BENEDICT XV 

Heart of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, We could not help regarding 
your people with a special sympathy and experiencing for them a 
particular compassion. 

628. While We are using all Our power to bring some relief 
to the sufferings of so many unfortunate sons, We have never 
ceased striving to the end that full political, military and economic 
independence be restored to your dear nation, and that the losses 
she has sustained be repaired. 

629. We are fully conscious of having done for Belgium and 
for her people all that was possible for Us to do, all that the radiat- 
ing Chanty of Christ and the most tender paternal affection could 
suggest. Nevertheless, Venerable Brethren, it is consoling for Us 
to hear you say again that you have never doubted your Father, 
not even in most critical moments 


Christian charity alone will be able to heal the wounds 
remaining from the war. 

May 14, 1919 

630. While the great weight of calamities and troubles which 
in these most bitter times oppresses Us beyond measure from every 
side, besides those outer things, there is my daily pressing anxiety, 
the care of all the churches^ 1 to use the words of the Apostle, We 
have recently followed with greater solicitude and more anxious 
care, Beloved Son and Venerable Brethren, the sudden calamities 
and most disturbing public events which have occurred among your 
nation and neighboring nations and which still hold our minds in 
suspense in expectation of what is to come. ...... 

631. Yet We add this, Beloved Son and Venerable Brethren 
although We know that this is known to all of you that this 
wonderful charity of Boniface, which was not contained by the 
boundaries of Germany alone, embraced absolutely all nations, 
though they were jnost hostile to one another; just as with even 
greater love, according to the order of virtue, the Apostle of Ger- 

180 Original Latin, A.4.S., v. n, pp. 209-220 (June 2, 1919). 
181 II Corinthians, XI, 28. 


IN HAG TANTA [632-633] 

many embraced the neighboring nation of the Franks, of whom he 
was likewise the most prudent reformer, and his own countrymen 
"born of the race and stock of the Angles." To the Angles he, as a 
member of the same race, a legate of the Church Universal, and a 
servant of the Apostolic See, commended the propagation of the 
Catholic Faith . . . among the Saxon peoples, who were born of 
the very same race. Finally he commended that "unity and com- 
munity of love" were to be guarded in a most charitable way. 182 

632. Since in truth charity is to use as Our own once more 
the words of the same writer whom We have quoted above "the 
origin and end of all good things, let us place our end in it," 183 
Beloved Son and Venerable Brethren. This, therefore, We beg in 
every way, that in this disturbed society of mankind, when the 
rights, laws, worship, and the memory itself of Almighty God and 
His Church have been restored, Christian charity may blossom 
once more, and, putting an end to raging wars and hatred and to 
divisions, schisms and errors that creep in on every side, may unite 
peoples with one another by a stronger bond than the passing agree- 
ments of men, primarily by the unity of faith and the tie of 
ancient connections or rather by kinship with this Holy See, which 
Christ our Lord willed to be the established foundation of His 
family on earth and to be consecrated by the virtues, the wisdom, 
and the labors of so many saints, and finally by the very blood of 
martyrs like your Boniface. 

633. When this harmony of faith and union of wills have been 
restored throughout the world, We shall be seen also to claim by a 
certain right of Ours from the whole Christian people, what Pope 
Clement, moved by the knowledge of the Roman Primacy and the 
sacred authority of the Apostolic See, even from the first century 
wrote in a special way to the Corinthians: "You will give us delight 
and joy if, obeying what we have written by the Holy Ghost, you 
root out the wicked passion of your jealousy according to the exhor- 
tation which we have made in this letter about peace and con- 
cord." 184 ...... 

a St. Boniface, Epistola;, XXXVI in Migne, P.L., v. 89, c. 735. 

184 St. Clement of Rome, Epistola ad Corinthios, n. 63 in Rouet de Journel, Enchiridion 
Patristicum (5th ed., 1922), p. 10. 


[634-635] BENEDICT XV 


The Holy See will not jail to do all that can possibly 
be done to bring about a just and lasting peace. 

July 3, 1919 

634. . . . Thinking only o the good of all peoples, His Holi- 
ness was confident that the peace settlement would mean the end of 
the unholy hatred of men and would bring to the whole world a 
new era of true brotherly love and community spirit, imperturbable 
calm and genuine welfare. I can assure Your Eminence, your 
Venerable Brethren in the episcopate and all who expect the Holy 
Father to intervene in the matter of the conditions of peace, that 
the Holy See has already taken steps in this direction and will not 
fail to do all that can possibly be done. . . . 



His Holiness as\s for assurance that the Versailles 
Treaty will protect the rights and interests of the 
Catholic Missions. 

July 3, 1919 

635 Now to pass over other matters here which per- 
tain not merely to the Orient, but to the entire Christian wbrld, 
We will not be silent that We have been in anxiety about the 
Catholic Missions. When We were informed that some measures 
were being considered at the Versailles Peace Conference by which 
the right of preaching the Gospel did not seem to be safeguarded, 
We confidently asked the members of the conference to give their 
serious attention to this matter. We also sent as Our representative 
a worthy prelate of the Roman Curia to protect these same rights 
to the utmost. It is a pleasure to say here that those men satisfied 
in large measure Our demands after they considered them with 
open minds. Consequently, We are led to hope that the same men 
will follow a like fairness of mind in putting into action the deci- 
sions which they have made in this regard, a matter which is of 

185 German text from Lama, Papst und Kurie, p. 101. 

186 Original Latin, A.A.S., v. n, p. 259 (July 4, 1919). 



importance not only to the Catholic Religion but also to civil society 
and culture. And since hostilities have finally come to an end, We 
suppliantly invoke Divine Mercy to regard this Our prayer, that the 
blockade be lifted on account of which a countless multitude is 
suffering famine and the direst want of everything, that as many as 
are yet prisoners of war be set free as soon as possible, that finally 
men and nations, till now enemies, be again united in the bonds of 
Christian charity, without which, We do not cease to insist, every 
peace conference will be in vain 



Every effort must be made to relieve the misery of post- 
war Germany. 

July 15, 1919 

636. The day has at last arrived which marks for your nation 
the end of the long and most distressing war; with the signing of 
the Treaty of Peace an end has been put finally to the blockade 
which made so many victims, specially and above all among those 
who in point of fact were taking no part in the war. We, who as 
the Universal Father have at heart the belligerents on both sides 
and tried by every means in Our power to put an end to the 
terrible conflagration or to mitigate its consequences, give the 
Almighty thanks for this boon together with you and all your 
nation. It should be your care now to repair as soon as possible 
the immense harm produced amongst you by the war, and inas- 
much as nothing can be so useful to that end as the work of the 
Catholic Church, assisted by Divine Grace, We have thought fit 
to send you this letter. And first of all, in order that there may not 
come to pass in Germany public disturbances which would bring 
on your nation and indeed on Europe the ruin which is overcom- 
ing other nations, every effort must be made that the populations 
may not lack food. To that end, Venerable Brethren, by means of 
the parish priests and such other ecclesiastics as are in the closest 
touch with the people, you should strongly urge the faithful in 
country districts not to refuse the inhabitants of the cities who are 


187 Translation from The Tablet, v. 134, p. 149 (August 2, 1919)- Original Latin, 
A.A.S., v. n, pp. 305-306 (August i, 1919). 



suffering hunger as much food as they themselves can manage to 
do without. In these hard times, that duty is laid on them strictly 
by the law of charity which, if it embraces all, including enemies, 
wishes that we should specially love our fellow countrymen. And, 
in addition, We feel confident that all who belong to civilized 
nations, and in particular the Catholics among them, will hasten 
to help the populations which they know are reduced to extremities, 
doing so not so much on account of the dangers threatening society 
as from their membership in the family of mankind itself and 
under the impulse of Christian charity. Indeed, we should all call 
to mind what the Apostle, St. John, teaches: He who has the goods 
of this world and sees his brother in need and closes his heart to 
him, how does the love of God abide in him? My dear children, 
let us not love in word, neither with the tongue, but in deed and in 
truth}^ In the second place, Venerable Brethren, each one of you 
should use all the authority of his sacred office to heal the spiritual 
wounds which the war either inflicted on your nation or made 
more sore. 

637. It is specially necessary to eliminate every feeling of hatred 
either towards foreigners with whom the nation was at war or 
towards fellow-citizens of other parties, and in the place of hatred 
put the brotherly love which is of Christ, which knows no barrier 
or limit or strife of class. And We repeat here the hope We ex- 
pressed at the last Consistory, that "men and peoples may be again 
united in Christian charity, because if that is lacking every Peace 
Treaty will be vain." We feel sure that you, Venerable Brethren, 
as good pastors and ministers of peace and charity, will engage all 
your care and energy in this task and will not cease to ask pity 
of the Lord, together with your clergy and your flocks. For Us, 
Our help will never fail you in these terrible times for your coun- 
try, because Our heart of a father turns with greater pity towards 
Our children who are suffering most, following the example of the 
loving Redeemer Who, taking pity on the sufferings of a great 
multitude, spoke these memorable words: / have compassion on 
the crowd^ Meanwhile . . . upon you, Venerable Brethren, and 
upon all those entrusted to your pastoral care We impart ... the 
Apostolic Benediction. 

*ljohn,m, 17-18. 
189 Uar\, VIII, 2. 




America must help to relieve the distress in post-war 

July 1 8, 1919 

638. The information has come to the Holy Father that the 
Central Verein, after the long interruption caused by the war, will 
soon meet again in the city of Chicago. This information has been 
received with the greatest satisfaction by the Sovereign Pontiff, who 
is well acquainted with the splendid merits of its work. . . . And 
now that the Central Verein takes up its labors anew, the Sovereign 
Pontiff desires to pay it the tribute of praise it has well earned by 
the work it has so successfully accomplished in the past, and also to 
send to its members his fatherly greetings as a harbinger of an even 
happier future. 

639. His Holiness has no doubt whatever that such a bright 
future is in store for them, because of those remarkable qualities 
which the German-Americans have given proof of on every occa- 
sion, and particularly during the recent war. While keeping alive 
the love they bore for the land of their fathers, yet this has not 
hindered them from doing their full duty towards their adopted 
country, and nobly indeed have they responded to its different calls, 
pouring out for it lavishly, their money, their service and their lives. 

640. But now that the war has at last come to an end, there is 
offered an even more promising field for their beneficent zeal. It 
is, alas, only too true that this cruel war which has so completely 
divided the human race into two opposite camps, has left behind 
it a trail of hate among the nations. And yet the world cannot 
possibly enjoy the blessed fruits of peace for any length of time 
unless that hatred be entirely blotted out and all the nations be 
brought together again in the sweet bonds of Christian brotherhood. 

641. To bring this about the Catholics in a more particular 
manner must lend themselves, since they are already closely united 
in the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, and should, therefore, con- 
stantly give others an example of Christian charity. f Aixd In accom- 

190 Original English, The New World (Chicago diocesan newspaper), September 19, 


[642-644] BENEDICT XV 

plishlng this result, the work or the German Catholics in the United 
States, who being united by the closest ties to both lately warring 
races, ought to be particularly successful 

642. Consequently, the Holy Father, to whose heart there is 
nothing dearer than the real reconciliation o the nations, and who 
has already addressed himself on this subject to the Bishops of 
Germany, now appeals to you in order that you, too, may co-operate 
in such a noble mission. Moreover, knowing the dreadful condi- 
tions under which our brethren in Germany are now living, the 
Sovereign Pontiff implores you most fervently to lend them every 
assistance, material as well as moral, and in the quickest and most 
effective way, especially facilitating the early resumption of com- 
merce and all those benefits that naturally follow in its wake. To 
this invitation the Holy Father feels certain that not only you will 
gladly respond, but all the children of your generous country with- 
out any distinction whatever, for surely they will be mindful of the 
great services their fellow citizens of German birth and descent 
have rendered their country during this war. In this way they will 
become real benefactors of the human race and draw upon their 
own nation Almighty God's choicest blessing. . . . 


PARIS. 191 

Christians must love their enemies. 
October 7, 1919 

643 .While the most Sacred Heart of Jesus, therefore, 

shows in a sensible manner His boundless love for His children, 
who too often, alas, are forgetful, at the same time it reminds us of 
this great duty whereby we ought to love God above all things and 
our neighbor as ourselves. 

644. Moreover, the love of neighbors, which is stronger the 
more it is concerned with those nearest us, extends to all men, even 
to our enemies, since we all are united to one another by the bond 
of brotherhood, inasmuch as we are sons of the same God and have 
been redeemed by the same Blood of Jesus Christ: You have heard 
that it hath be$n said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thy 

191 Original Latin, A.A.S., v. n, p. 413 (November 3, 1919). 


enemy. But 1 say to you, Love your enemies: do good to them that 
hate you: and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you: 
that you may be the children of your Father, Who is in heaven 2 
This Our Lord and Master has commanded, thus the Apostles with 
one voice, and especially that herald of love, St. John, have handed 
down, and this has been followed in practice, we know, by all who 
have conducted their lives in accordance with the wisdom of the 

645. We know, of course, that a precept of this kind made by 
Christ our Lord does not please the world, and this is so to such a 
degree that the world interprets perversely the counsels of those 
who affirm and defend its sanctity and repays them with all 
calumnies. So it was done with Jesus Christ; nor will it ever be 
otherwise if anyone preaches forgetfulness of injuries and love 
towards those who have done evil to us and have attacked our 
country. But the displeasure of the wicked ought not retard any- 
one from following and inculcating such a weighty precept of the 
Gospel, upon which especially the; tranquillity of human association 
and the condition of States depend 


The suffering victims of Central Europe are a cause of 
anxiety to Benedict XV, 

October 29, 1919 

646. I lost no time in informing the Holy Father that the West- 
minster Catholic Federation, presided over by Your Eminence, had 
formed the truly noble and charitable plan of an appeal to the entire 
world to lighten the distress in which large numbers of the inhabi- 
tants of Central Europe are languishing a distress which bears 
most gravely and cruelly upon little children. 

647. The cessation of hostilities has brought only inadequate 
relief to these unfortunates, and in some regions it has even in- 
creased the hardships which make existence impossible. The in- 
formation sent to the Holy See from different quarters shows, 

192 Matthew, V, 43-4 5 : 

198 Original English, The Tablet, v. 134, p. 722 (November 29, 1919). 


[648-65] BENEDICT XV 

among other things, that many dwellers in large towns have be- 
come utterly enfeebled through their enormous and increasing 
difficulties, and that every day long files of sufferers can be seen 
outside the premises of charitable societies waiting to receive a 
miserable ration. The reports of medical men abound with heart- 
rending descriptions of the pitiable state of the children in or- 
phanages and free schools, "emaciated little creatures, without 
exception too small for their age, among whom rickets are becoming 
more and more serious, while a peculiarly deadly tuberculosis makes 
rapid strides." 

648. All this fills the heart of the August Pontiff with profound 
pity, for amidst the ills bred by the war, those of which childhood 
is the victim are worthy of the greatest compassion. It is, indeed, 
a mournful sight to behold these little beings, whose eyes have 
hardly opened to the light, bearing in their faces and in their 
glances the signs of decay and of a premature sadness born of 
long-drawn grief, instead of the frank lightheartedness proper to 
their age. 

649. Your Eminence, therefore, can easily picture how greatly 
the Holy Father is consoled by the knowledge of this generous 
project, and with what warmth he praises and encourages all those 
who stretch forth their hands to help those innocents and to furnish 
them with those things which their parents are not able to provide. 
But who can remain indifferent face to face with the sufferings of 
these hapless ones? Are they not the tender flower of humanity 
for whom the Redeemer of the world has shown a surpassing love 
and care? 



The bishops of the entire world are as\ed to collect 
funds for the starving children of Central Europe. 

November 24, 1919 

650. It was the expectation and hope of Our paternal heart that, 
once the terrible conflict was ended, and the spirit of Christian char- 

194 Translation from The Tablet, v. 134, p. 741 (December 6, 1919). Original Latin, 
A.A.S., v. ii, pp. 437-439 (December i, 1919). 



ity restored, the regions desolated by famine and misery, especially in 
Central Europe, might little by little improve their condition, thanks 
to the united efforts of all good men. But this Our hope has not 
been realized by events. As a matter of fact, information reaches 
Us from all sides that those populous regions are deprived of food 
and clothing to a degree beyond all imagination, so that a most 
lamentable decay of health is the result among the less hardy, and 
especially among the children. This their misfortune afflicts Our 
heart all the more as they are altogether innocent and even ignorant 
of the sanguinary conflict which has desolated almost the whole 
world; and, moreover, they represent the germs of the future gener- 
ations, which cannot but feel the effects of their debilitation. 

651. Nevertheless, Our distress has been somewhat relieved by 
learning that men of good will have banded themselves in societies 
in order to "save the children." We have not hesitated to approve 
and confirm with Our authority, as was fitting, this noble plan. 
Indeed, it corresponds with the grave duty of affection which We 
feel towards that tender age which is most dear to Our Divine 
Redeemer, and which has least strength to bear and suffer ills. In 
fact, We had done this formerly. You will remember that at no 
distant date We endeavored with all Our means to succor the little 
children in Belgium who were in extremity of hunger and of misery, 
and recommend them to the public charity of Catholics. The gener- 
osity of the latter was such that in great part it was owing to it 
that it was possible to provide for the necessities of so many inno- 
cent children and to preserve their life and health. In fact, as soon 
as We had addressed Our exhortation for this noble purpose to the 
Episcopate of the United States of America, Our desires were gener- 
ously met by the widest correspondence. We record this happy 
result to-day, not only to pay tke tribute of Our praise to men 
worthy of being remembered in the annals of Christian charity, 
but also by Our voice and authority to invite the bishops of the 
whole world to take steps in order to carry into effect Our proposal, 
and for this purpose to employ all their prestige with their flocks. 
With the approach of the season of Christmas, commemorating 
the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Our thoughts spontaneously 
fly to the poor little children, especially in Central Europe, who are 
most cruelly feeling the wants of the necessities of life; and We 
embrace this tender age with all the more solicitude inasmuch as it 


[652-654] BENEDICT XV 

more exactly recalls the image of the Divine Infant, suffering, for 
love of men in the cave at Bethlehem, the rigor of winter and the 
want of all things. No other circumstance could be more opportune 
than this to induce Us to solicit for innocent children the charity 
and pity of Christians and of all who do not despair of the salvation 
of the human race. 

652. Wherefore, Venerable Brethren, with the .purpose of attain- 
ing in your respective dioceses the object of which We have spoken, 
We direct that on next December 28, the feast of the Holy Innocents, 
you should order public prayers and gather the alms of the faithful. 
In order to help on a larger scale so many poor children in this 
most noble competition of charity, in addition to money it will be 
necessary to gather food, medicines and clothing, all of which are 
so greatly wanting in these regions. We need not delay in explain- 
ing how such offerings may be conveniently divided and forwarded 
to their destination. This task may be confided to the committees 
which have been formed for this object, and may provide for it in 
any manner whatsoever. 

653. Finally, We trust that the exhortation which, moved by 
duty of that universal fatherhood which God has confided to Us, 
We have made, although addressed principally to Catholics, may 
be benevolently listened to by all who have the sentiments of 
humanity. Moreover, in order to afford an example to others, not- 
withstanding the continual requests for help which reach Us from 
all sides, We have determined, to the extent of Our means, to con- 
tribute to the relief of these poor children the sum of 100,000 

LETTER Cdeberrima Evenisse ollcmnia TO CARDINAL BELLO, 

For the peace of their nation, the faithful must be sub- 
ject to those who 'are in legitimate authority. 

December 18, 1919 

654. We were indeed very glad to hear that the solemnities 
were very well attended which took place recently in honor of 

195 Original Latin, A.A.S., v. 12, pp. 32-33 (February 2, 1920). 



Blessed Nonius Alvares at Lisbon, and that very many of you 
took part in them. For thus taking advantage of the excellent 
opportunity you not only took counsel over the state of affairs with 
one another, in order to set forth a joint program for your flocks 
in matters which pertain to Religion and State, but you also learned 
from the Apostolic Nuncio Our opinion in this most serious matter. 
Nevertheless, Venerable Brethren, on account of Our special love 
for the most noble Portuguese nation We wish to speak to you 
paternally. First of all We cherish a well-founded hope that all 
whether clergy or laity, whose sincere love of country is certainly 
most clearly established will be second to none in re-establishing 
peace and good-will among their fellow citizens. For since the 
Church, as is evident, must neither be responsible to political par- 
ties, nor serve political interests, it is, therefore, her duty to urge 
the faithful to obey those who are in authority, whatever be the 
constitution of the State. For on this depends the common good, 
which is certainly, according to God's plan, the first law of the State, 
as Our Predecessor of happy memory, Leo XIII, clearly set forth 
in his Encyclical, Au Milieu des Sollicitudes, of February 16, i892. 196 
Moreover, writing to the Cardinals of France on the 3rd of May 
of the same year, he stated that it was a Christian's duty faithfully 
to submit to the authority which is actually in power. Following, 
therefore, the teaching and practice of the Church, which has always 
been accustomed to be on friendly terms with States of whatever 
constitution, and which has recently restored relations with the 
Republic of Portugal, let Catholics, with a clear conscience, submit 
also to this civil authority as it is now constituted, and for the 
common good of Religion and State let them willingly accept public 
offices if they are conferred. We make these exhortations all the 
more willingly because, from what has been reported to Us, We 
are confident that the Portuguese authorities will uphold the com- 
plete freedom of the Church and the exercise of her sacred rights 
that she may there most profitably carry out her divine commission. 
It will be your task, Venerable Brethren, together with the clergy 
to urge the faithful from time to time that, considering Mother 
Church more important than worldly interests and political parties, 
they strive by all means to protect her rights with united strength. 
For thus they will greatly contribute to the increase and prosperity 

196 Cf. supra*. 176. 


[655-658] BENEDICT XV 

of their native Portugal, that she may successfully continue to carry 
out the most glorious task she has received from Divine Providence 
especially in spreading the Faith and civilization throughout the 
vast extent of her colonies. . . . 


A fair penalty, not destruction, may be imposed upon 
conquered peoples. 

December 24, 1919 

655 Far, however, from being afraid for the future 

of individuals and of society, We subscribe to the wish of the Sacred 
College, desiring that, first of all, the spirit of faith be revived in 
individuals and in society, and that both one and the other may 
then enjoy the fruits of that peace which is the daughter of a true 
life of faith. 

656. The Apostle, Saint Paul, after having taught the Romans 
that the Kingdom of God is not meat and drinJ^; but justice t and 
peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, used to draw from his teaching 
this conclusion: Let us do, therefore, that which is useful to peace: 
itaque quae pads sunt sectemur. 198 We, also, have recently co- 
operated, within the limited measure of Our strength, in the exten- 
sion of the Kingdom of God by furthering the propagation of the 
Faith throughout the whole world. 

657. . . . Hence, having taken care to revive the spirit of faith 
by calling to mind the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in order 
that it be vouchsafed to individuals and to society to enjoy more 
copiously the fruits of that peace which faith alone can give, We 
also, with St. Paul, must remind them of the obligation of doing 
all which helps to maintain that ineffable good: itaque quae pads 
sunt sectemur. 

658. Because pads sunt, our acts of homage and of obedience 
to divine and human laws, which acts, in a direct or indirect way, 
recognize the supreme dominion of God over creation, are useful 
to peace; because pads sunt, the mortifications and the penances, 
with which the senses are subjected to the spirit, help to promote 

197 Original Italian, La Civllta Cattolica, 1920, v. I, pp. 73-74. 
198 Romans, XIV, 17-19. 



peace; because pacts sunt, the kindness which in our words and 
acts we employ towards our brethren, even at the price of self love, 
helps to promote peace. 

659. And if we pass from the consideration of the good of the 
individual to that of society, we ought once again to repeat the 
exhortation of St. Paul: itaque quae pacts sunt sectemur. 

660. Pacts sunt the public act by which it is acknowledged that 
from neither schools, nor from courtrooms, nor from public assem- 
blies must God, Who is not only the Lord of the individual but of 
society, be ostracized; pads sunt the work and care devoted to 
establish the alliance of peoples on the foundation of justice; pads 
sunt the decisions and sentences which impose upon conquered 
peoples a fair penalty, but not destruction 


Hoover s relief wor\ is highly praised. 
January 9, 1920 

661. Through Our dear son, the Cardinal Archbishop of Balti- 
more, We have received further news of the really admirable and 
providential work that you are continuing to carry out to alleviate 
the serious and complex troubles from which Europe is suffering 
in the matter of food supplies. Such beneficent work will undoubt- 
edly ensure for you a very high place in the annals of Christian 
charity, and, so to speak, a unique title to the gratitude of the 
peoples; and it fills Our heart with sincere pleasure and lively con- 
solation when We think of the immense good that it is bringing 
to the multitude of suffering people in this desolated Europe. Espe- 
cially, We have learned, you are concentrating your attention and 
anxious care on the little children. We still retain a vivid recollec- 
tion of what you did to help the unfortunate children of Belgium 
at a moment when they were dying through the lack of the food 
their young lives required. We spoke then from Our heart, encour- 
aging your generous initiative. We can do no less now, the more 
so in that it is not a question of the lives of the children of one 

199 Translation from The Tablet, v. 135, pp. 223-224 (February 14, 1920). Original 
French, A.A.S., v. 12, pp. 35-36 (February 2, 1920). 



nation only,, but, from what We hear, of three millions of children 
belonging to different States of Europe. Moved by the charity of 
Jesus Christ, therefore, and feeling the love that He felt for the 
children, We most heartily recommend the work which you are 
doing to all American citizens, without distinction of faith or party, 
feeling sure that they who have always opened their hearts to every 
noble initiative will respond with enthusiasm to this appeal. The 
more so in that We are happy to see that in your work there is 
no place for resentment or particularism of any sort, it aims at 
helping all suffering children, in preference the children of the 
enemies of yesterday who are undergoing the worst sufferings. 
We, as you know, were moved by these same high sentiments when 
We turned to the bishops of the whole -world, urging them to 
rouse the charity of the faithful to help the children of Central 
Europe on Holy Innocents' Day, and when We gladly approved 
the work of the "Save the Children Fund" of London, which had 
taken a similar initiative. We have no doubt at all that with God's 
aid all these efforts will have the happiest results, but, on the other 
hand, We think that success would be more easily attained if all 
the initiatives were to come together in a common understanding. 
With all Our heart We wish the greatest success to your generous 
effort, and We fervently pray that God may grant you the most 
precious reward. 

ENCYCLICAL Pacem Dei Munus Pulcherrimum ON PEACE AND 

Unless Christian charity and justice are practiced by 
the nations, the feace treaty will be in vain. 

May 23, 1920 

662. Peace, the beautiful gift of God, the name of which, as 
St. Augustine says, is the sweetest word to our hearing and the 
best and most desirable possession; 201 peace, which was for more 
than four years implored by the ardent wishes of all good peoples, 
by the prayers of pious souls and the tears of mothers, begins at 

200 Translation from Eppstein, The Catholic Tradition of the Law of Nations, pp. 236- 

242, Original Latin, A.A.S., v. 12, pp. 209-218 (June i, 1920). 

201 De Civitate Dei, bk. XIX, ch. n in Migne, P.L., v. 41, c. 637. 


PA GEM DEI [663-666] 

last to shine upon the nations. At this We are indeed the happiest 
of all, and heartily do We rejoice. But this joy of Our paternal 
heart is disturbed by many bitter anxieties, for if in most places 
peace is in some sort established and treaties are signed, the germs 
of former enmities remain; and you well know, Venerable Brethren, 
that there can be no stable peace or lasting treaties, though made 
after long and difficult negotiations and duly signed, unless there 
be a return of mutual charity to appease hate and banish enmity. 
This, then, Venerable Brethren, is the anxious and dangerous ques- 
tion upon which We wish to dwell and to put forward recom- 
mendations to be brought home to your people. 

663. For Ourselves, since We were raised by the hidden designs 
of God to this Chair, We have never ceased to do everything 
in Our power from the very beginning of the war that all the 
nations of the world might resume cordial relations as soon as 
possible. To that end We never ceased to pray, to repeat exhorta- 
tions, to propose ways of arrangement, to try every means, in fact, 
to open by divine aid a path to a just, honorable, and lasting peace; 
and at the same time We exercised all Our paternal care to alleviate 
everywhere that terrible load of sorrow and disaster of every sort 
by which the immense tragedy was accompanied. 

664. And now, just as from the beginning of Our troubled 
pontificate the charity of Jesus Christ led Us to work both for the 
return of peace and to alleviate the horrors of the war, so now that 
comparative peace has been concluded, this same charity urges Us 
to exhort all the children of the Church, and all mankind, to clear 
their hearts of bitterness, and give place to mutual love and concord. 

665. There is no need from Us of long proof to show that 
society would, incur the risk of great loss if, while peace is signed, 
latent hostility and enmity were to continue among the nations. 
There is no need to mention the loss of all that maintains and 
fosters civil life, such as commerce and industry, art and literature, 
which flourish only when the nations are at peace. But, what is 
even more important, grave harm would accrue to the form and 
essence of the Christian life, which consists essentially in charity 
and the preaching of which is called the Gospel of peace. 2(>2 

666. You know well, and We have frequently reminded you 
of it, that nothing was so often and so carefully inculcated on His 


[667-669] BENEDICT XV 

disciples by Jesus Christ as this precept of mutual charity, as the 
one which contains all others. Christ called it the new command- 
ment, His very own, and desired that it should be the sign of 
Christians by which they might be distinguished from all others; 
and on the eve of His death it was His last testament to His disciples 
to love one another and thus try to imitate the ineffable unity of 
the three Divine Persons. in the Trinity. That they may be one as 
tve also are one . . . that they may be made perfect in one?* 

667. The Apostles, following in the steps of the Divine Master, 
and conforming to His word and commands, were unceasing in 
their exhortation to the faithful: Before all things have a constant 
mutual chanty among yourselves?* But above all these things have 
charity which is the bond of perfection?^ Dearly beloved; let us 
love one another, for charity is of God? QQ Our brethren of the first 
Christian ages faithfully observed these commands of Jesus Christ 
and the Apostles. They belonged to different and rival nations, yet 
they willingly forgot their causes of quarrel and lived in perfect 
concord, and such a union of hearts was in striking contrast with 
the deadly enmities by which human society was then consumed. 

668. What has already been said in favor of charity holds good 
for the inculcation of the pardoning of injuries which is no less 
solemnly commanded by the Lord: But I say to you, love your 
enemies; do good to them that hate you; pray for those that per- 
secute and calumniate you, that you may be the children of your 
Father Who is in heaven, Who maketh His sun to rise upon the 
good and bad?" 1 Hence, that terribly severe warning* of the Apostle, 
St. John: 'Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer. And you 
tyiow that no murderer hath eternal life .abiding in himself?^ 

669. Our Lord Jesus Christ, in teaching us how to pray to God, 
makes us say that we wish for pardon as we forgive others : Forgive 
us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us? 
And if the observance of this law is sometimes hard and difficult, 
we have not only the timely assistance of the grace of Our Divine 
Redeemer, but also His example to help us to overcome the diffi- 

, xvn, 22-23. 

204 1 Peter, IV, 8. 

205 Colossians, III, 14. 
2 6l/o^IV, 7. 

Matthew, V, 44-45. 
208 1 lohn, III, 15, 
^ Matthew, VI, 12, 


PA OEM DEI [670-672] 

culty. For as He hung on the Cross He thus excused before His 
Father those who so unjustly and wickedly tortured Him: Father, 
forgive them, for they {now not what they do. 210 We, then, who 
should be the first to imitate the pity and loving kindness of Jesus 
Christ, Whose Vicar, without any merit of Our own, We are; with 
all Our heart, and following His example, We forgive all Our 
enemies who knowingly or unknowingly have heaped and are still 
heaping on Our person and Our work every sort of vituperation, 
and We embrace all in Our charity and benevolence and neglect 
no opportunity to do them all the good in Our power. That is 
indeed what Christians worthy of the name ought to do toward 
those who during the war have done them wrong. 

670. Christian charity ought not to be content with not hating 
our enemies and loving them as brothers; it also demands that we 
treat them with kindness, following the rule of the Divine Master 
who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed 
by the devil? 1 ^ and finished His mortal life, the course of which 
was marked by good deeds, by shedding His blood for them. So 
said St. John: In this we have %nown the charity of God, because 
He hath laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our 
lives for the brethren. He that hath the substance of this world 
and shall see his brother in need and shall shut up his bowels from 
him: how doth the charity of God abide in him? My little children, 
let us not love in word nor by tongue, but in deed and in truth. 212 

671. Never indeed was there a time when we should "stretch 
the bounds of charity" more than in these days of universal suffer- 
ing and sorrow; never perhaps as to-day has humanity so needed 
that universal beneficence which springs from the love of others, 
and is full of sacrifice and zeal. For if we look around where the 
fury of the war has been let loose we see immense regions utterly 
desolate, uncultivated and abandoned; multitudes reduced to want 
of food, clothing and shelter; innumerable widows and orphans 
reft of everything, and an incredible number of enfeebled beings, 
particularly children and young people, who carry on their bodies 
the ravages of this atrocious war. 

672. When one regards all these miseries by which the human 


213 Acts, X, 38. 

I, 1 6-1 8. 

[673-674] BENEDICT XV 

race is stricken one inevitably thinks of the traveler in the Gospel, 213 
who, going down from Jerusalem to Jericho,, fell among thieves, 
who robbed him, and covered him with wounds and left him half 
dead. The two cases are very similar; and as to the traveler there 
came the good Samaritan, full of compassion, who bound up his 
wounds, pouring in oil and wine, took him to an inn, and under- 
took all care for him, so, too, is it necessary that Jesus, of Whom 
the Samaritan was the figure, should lay His Hands upon the 
wounds of society. 

673. This work, this duty the Church claims as her own as 
heir and guardian of the spirit of Jesus Christ the Church whose 
entire existence is a marvelously varied tissue of all kinds of good 
deeds, the Church, that "real mother of Christians in the full sense 
of the word, who has such tenderness of love and charity for her 
neighbor that she can offer the best remedies for the different evils 
which afflict souls on account of their sins." That is why she "treats 
and teaches children with tenderness, young people with firmness, 
old people with great calm, taking account of not only the age 
but also the condition of soul of each." 214 It would be difficult to 
exaggerate the effect of this many-sided Christian beneficence in 
softening the heart and thus facilitating the return of tranquillity 
to the nations. 

674. Therefore, Venerable Brethren, We pray you and exhort 
you in the mercy and charity of Jesus Christ, strive with all zeal 
and diligence not only to urge the faithful entrusted to your care 
to abandon hatred and to pardon offenses; but and what is more 
immediately practical to promote all those works of Christian 
benevolence which bring aid to the needy, comfort to the afflicted, 
and protection to the weak, and to give opportune and appropriate 
assistance of every kind to all who have suffered from the war. 
It is Our especial wish that you should exhort your priests, as the 
ministers of peace, to be assiduous in urging this love of one's 
neighbor and even of enemies which is the essence of the Christian 
life and by being all things to all men 215 and giving an example 
to others, wage war everywhere on enmity and hatred, thus doing 
a thing most agreeable to the loving Heart of Jesus and to him 

313 Luke, X, 30 sq. 

214 St. Augustine, De Moribus Ecclesiac Catholicae, bk. I, ch. 30, in Migne, P.L., v. 32, 

c. 1336. 
215 1 Corinthians, IX, 22. 


PACEM DEI [675-677] 

who, however unworthy, holds His place on earth. In this con- 
nection Catholic writers and journalists should be invited to clothe 
themselves as elect of God, holy and beloved, with pity and \ind- 
ness? 1Q Let them show this charity in their writings by abstaining 
not only from false and groundless accusations, but also from all 
intemperance and bitterness of language, all of which is contrary 
to the law of Christ and does but reopen sores as yet unhealed, 
seeing that the slightest touch is a serious irritant to a heart whose 
wounds are recent. 

675. All that We have said here to individuals about the duty 
of charity We wish to say also to the peoples who have been de- 
livered from the burden of a long war, in order that, when every 
cause of disagreement has been, as far as possible, removed and 
without prejudice to the rights of justice they may resume friendly 
relations among themselves. The Gospel has not one law of charity 
for individuals and another for States and nations, which are indeed 
but collections of individuals. The war being now over, people seem 
called to a general reconciliation not only from motives of charity, 
but from necessity; the nations are naturally drawn together by 
the need they have of one another, and by the bond of mutual 
good-will, bonds which are to-day strengthened by the development 
of civilization and the marvelous increase of communication. 

676. Truly, as We have already said, this Apostolic See has 
never wearied of teaching during the war such pardon of offenses 
and the fraternal reconciliation of the peoples, in conformity with 
the most holy law of Jesus Christ, and in agreement with the needs 
of civil life and human intercourse; nor did it allow that amid 
dissension and hate these moral principles should be forgotten. 
With all the more reason, then, now that the Treaties of Peace are 
signed, does it proclaim these principles as, for example, it did a 
short time ago in the Letter to the Bishops of Germany, 217 and in 
that addressed to the Archbishop of Paris. 218 

677. And this concord between civilized nations is maintained 
and fostered by the modern custom of visits and meetings at which 
the heads of States and princes are accustomed to treat of matters 
of special importance. So, then, considering the changed circum- 

216 Colossians, III, 12. 

217 Apostolic Letter Diutttrni, July 15, 1919. See supra nn. 636-637. 
213 Letter Amor Hie, October 7, 1919. See supra nn. 643-645. 


[678-679] BENEDICT XV 

stances of the times and the dangerous trend of events, and in 
order to encourage this concord, We would not be unwilling to 
relax in some measure the severity of the conditions justly laid 
down by Our Predecessors, when the civil power of the Apostolic 
See was overthrown, against the official visits of the heads of 
Catholic States to Rome. But at the same time We formally declare 
that this concession, which seems counseled or rather demanded by 
the grave circumstances in which to-day society is placed, must not 
be interpreted as a tacit renunciation of its sacrosanct rights by the 
Apostolic See, as if it acquiesced in the unlawful situation in which 
it is placed. Rather do We seize this opportunity to renew for the 
same reasons the protests which Our Predecessors have several times 
made, not in the least moved thereto by human interests, but in 
fulfillment of the sacred duty of their charge to defend the rights 
and dignity of this Apostolic See; once again demanding and with 
even greater insistence, now that peace is made among the nations, 
that "for the Head of the Church, too, an end may be put to that 
abnormal condition which in so many ways does such serious 
harm to tranquillity among the peoples." 219 

678. Things being thus restored, the order required by justice 
and charity re-established and the nations reconciled, it is much 
to be desired, Venerable Brethren, that all States, putting aside 
mutual suspicion, should unite in one league, or rather a sort of 
family of peoples, calculated both to maintain their own independ- 
ence and safeguard the order of human society. What specially, 
amongst otlier reasons, calls for such an association of nations, is 
the need generally recognized of making every effort to abolish 
or reduce the enormous burden of the military expenditures which 
States can no longer bear, in order to prevent these disastrous wars 
or at least to remove the danger of them as far as possible. So 
would each nation be assured not only of its independence but 
also of the integrity of its territory within its just frontiers. 

679. The Church will certainly not refuse her zealous aid to 
States united under the Christian law in any of their undertakings 
inspired by justice and charity, inasmuch as she is herself the most 
perfect type of universal society. She possesses in her organization 
and institutions a wonderful instrument for bringing this brother- 
hood among men, not only for their eternal salvation but also for 

219 Encyclical Ad Beatissimi, November i, 1914, See supra n. 296. 


PACEM DEI [680] 

their material well-being in this world; she leads them through 
temporal well-being to the sure acquisition of eternal blessings. It is 
the teaching of history that when the Church pervaded with her 
spirit the ancient and barbarous nations of Europe, little by little 
the many and varied differences that divided them were diminished 
and their quarrels extinguished; in time they formed a homogeneous 
society from which sprang Christian Europe which, under the 
guidance and auspices of the Church, whilst preserving a diversity 
of nations, tended to a unity that favored its prosperity and glory. 
On this point St. Augustine well says; "This celestial city, in its 
life here on earth, calls to itself citizens of every nation, and forms 
out of all the peoples one varied society; it is not harassed by dif- 
ferences in customs, laws and institutions, which serve to the attain- 
ment or the maintenance of peace on earth; it neither rends nor 
destroys anything but rather guards all and adapts itself to all; 
however, these things may vary among the nations, they are all 
directed to the same end of peace on earth as long as they do 
not hinder the exercise of religion, which teaches the worship 
of the true supreme God." 220 And the same holy Doctor thus 
addresses the Church: "Citizens, peoples, and all men, thou, recall- 
ing their common origin, shalt not only unite among themselves, 
but shalt make them brothers." 221 

680. To come back to what We said at the beginning, We 
turn affectionately to all Our children and conjure them in the 
name of Our Lord Jesus Christ to forget mutual differences and 
offenses and draw together in the bonds of Christian charity, from 
which none are excluded and within which none are strangers. 
We fervently exhort all the nations, under the inspiration of Chris- 
tian benevolence, to establish a true peace among themselves and 
join together in an alliance which shall be just and, therefore, lasting. 
And lastly We appeal to all men and all peoples to join in mind 
and heart with the Catholic Church and through the Church with 
Christ, the Redeemer of the human race, so that We may address 
to them in very truth the words 6i St. Paul to the Ephesians: But 
now in Christ Jesus you who sometime were ajar off, are made 
nigh by the Blood of Christ. For He is our peace, Who hath made 
both one, and breaking down the middle wall of partition . . . 

220 De Civitate Dei, bk. XIX, ch. 17, in Migne, P.L., v. 41, c. 646. 

221 De MoribusEcclesiae Catholicae, bk. I, ch. 30, in Migne, P.L., v. 32, c. 1336. 

2 9 I 

[681-683] BENEDICT XV 

filling the enmities in Himself. And coming He preached peace 
to you that were ajar off and peace to them that were nigh. 222 

681. Nor less appropriate are the words which the same Apostle 
addressed to the Colossians: Lie not one to another: stripping your- 
selves of the old man with his deeds. And putting on the new, 
him who is renewed unto knowledge according to the image of 
Him that created him. Where there is neither Gentile nor ]ew, 
circumcision nor uncircumcision , Barbarian nor Scythian f bond nor 
free. But Christ is all and in all. 22B 

682. Meanwhile, trusting in the protection of Mary, the Virgin 
Immaculate, who not long ago We directed should be universally 
invoked as "Queen of Peace/' as also in the intercession of the three 
Blessed to whom We have decreed the honor of Saints, We humbly 
implore the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete, that He may "graciously 
grant to the Church the gifts of unity and peace,'' 224 and may renew 
the face of the earth by a fresh outpouring of His charity for the 
salvation of all. As an earnest of these heavenly gifts and as a pledge 
of Our paternal benevolence, We impart with all Our heart to you, 
Venerable Brethren, to all your clergy and people, the Apostolic 


VENICE. 225 

The application of Christian social principles will bring 
internal peace to those lands where there now is strife 
between opposing factions. 

June 14, 1920 

683, We understand from the letters which you sent Us re- 
cently that you are deeply concerned over those popular movements 
by which the tranquillity of your territory is disturbed at present. 
The reasons for your concern are obvious. The issues in dispute 
are most difficult and unpleasant; moreover, the Faith itself is 
placed in jeopardy. We deeply share in your concern and for the 

z - 2 Ephesians> II, 13 sq. 

223 Colossians, III, 9-11. 

224 Secret in the Feast of Corpus Christi. 

225 Original Latin, A.A.S., v. 12, p. 290 (July i, 1920). 


BONUM SANE [684-685] 

same reasons. It is Our duty principally to bring back a Christian 
reconciliation among opposing factions, and to safeguard the eternal 
salvation of all. First of all, you have done well to establish certain 
proper boards for the benefit of the workingman, which, with the 
right use of the principles of Christian wisdom, will do away with 
any disputes between owners and workers. And certainly, as We 
have written recently to the Bishop of Bergamo, these boards can 
be of great advantage, as long as they use Christian principles, and 
as long as those questions or problems which pertain to religion 
or morals or doctrine are duly referred to the authority of the 

684. For the Church alone has the medicine and the remedy 
for the cure of the sickness which exists in these difficulties a 
remedy, by the way, which is conformed to the eternal laws of 
justice a remedy which We hear the human race to-day loudly 
imploring on all sides. But these laws of justice are to be observed 
indeed in such a way that within their proper fields they may remain 
both just and firm. Consequently, when We exhort the rich to 
cultivate generosity and to emphasize fairness much more than 
their rights, We at the same time earnestly advise the working- 
men that their very Faith may be endangered if they seek to im- 
pose and to make immoderate and unreasonable demands 


Many serious moral evils have arisen as a consequence 
of the war. 

July 25, 1920 

685 What is lacking^ to restore a common and properly 

ordered peace after so hard a struggle of war, We have recently 
shown in the Encyclical On the Christian Restoration of Peace?* 1 
in which We paid particular attention to the public relations both 
of nations and men with one another. Now, however, there is 
another cause of disturbance which calls for attention, and that a 
far greater one inasmuch as it attacks the very veins and sinews 
of human society. The calamity of war came upon the nations 
precisely at that time when Naturalism, the greatest plague in the 

226 Original Latin, 4.A.S., v. 12, pp. 313-315 (August 2, 1920). 
227 Cf. supra nn. 662-682. 


[686-687] BENEDICT XV 

world, had completely tainted them. As soon as Naturalism takes 
root, it weakens the desire for heavenly treasures, smothers the 
flame of love for God, draws man away from the healing and 
supernaturalizing grace of Christ, and finally robs him of the light 
of faith, and abandons him, armed only with the weak and corrupt 
forces of his nature, to the unbridled lusts of his soul. Since too 
many men, therefore, had their desires turned only to perishable 
goods, and since the bitterest quarrels and jealousies existed be- 
tween rich and poor, the greatness and length of the war increased 
mutual class hatred and rendered it even more bitter, particularly 
because it brought unbearable want to the masses and a sudden 
abundance of wealth to a very few. 

686. In addition to this list of woes it added these: that the 
sanctity of marital fidelity and respect for parental authority suf- 
fered no slight loss on account of the war, because the remoteness 
of one of the parties weakened the bond of duty in the other and 
the absence of a guardian led rash young girls in particular to 
indulge their passions without restraint. We must, therefore, de- 
plore the fact that morals are much more depraved and corrupt 
than formerly, and on this account what is called the social question 
is growing so serious from day to day that the worst evils are now 
to be feared. The fond hope and wish of every renegade is the 
speedy rise of some universal state, which is based on complete 
equality of men and common ownership of property as a funda- 
mental principle, in which neither any distinctions of nationality, 
nor authority of parents over their children, nor of public authority 
over citizens, nor of God over man living in society is acknowl- 
edged. If these principles are put into practice, dreadful horrors 
must necessarily follow; and at this very moment not a small part 
of Europe is experiencing and feeling them. We even see that such 
a state of affairs is being sought for all other nations, and that great 
upheavals are shortly to ensue everywhere among the masses, stirred 
up by the madness and audacity of a few. 

687. Particularly concerned by this trend of events, We have 
not neglected when opportunity presented itself, to remind the 
children of the Church of their duty, as in a letter recently written 
to the Bishop of Bergamo and also to the bishops of the province 
of Venice. 228 Now for the same reason, to keep all Our children 
2 - 8 Cf. supra nn. 683-684. 



wherever they be, who earn their living by the work of. their hands, 
on the path of duty and to keep them intact from the contagion 
of Socialism, and there is nothing more opposed to Christian teach- 
ing, We especially set before them in all earnestness Saint Joseph, 
whom they shall follow as their special guide in life and venerate 
as their patron 


OF ROME. 229 

Prayers are ordered for Poland because her national 
existence is threatened. 

August 5, 1920 

688. It is with the greatest pleasure that We have heard that, 
following Our suggestion, you have ordered that on Sunday next, 
in the venerable church of the Gesu, solemn prayers shall be raised 
to the Most High to invoke the mercy of the Lord on unhappy 
Poland. The gravest considerations lead Us to hope. My Lord 
Cardinal^ that your example will be followed by all the bishops 
of the Catholic world. In truth, the anxious motherly care with 
which the Holy See has always followed the vicissitudes of the 
Polish nation is well known. When all the civil nations were silent 
in front of the predominance of might over right, the Holy See 
alone protested against the iniquitous partition of Poland and 
against the no less iniquitous oppression of the Polish people. But 
now there is much more. Now not only is the national existence 
of Poland in danger, but all Europe is threatened by the horrors 
of fresh wars. So it is not only love for Poland, but love for all 
Europe that moves Us to hope that all the faithful will join Us in 
praying the Most High that through the intercession of the Most 
Blessed Virgin, Protectress of Poland, the people of that country 
may be spared this last disaster, and at the same time this fresh 
scourge may be lifted from Europe, already bled almost to death. 
Praying Almighty God that the hearts of the faithful may respond 
to the Father's appeal, We impart to you with all Our heart, My 
Lord Cardinal, the Apostolic Benediction. 

229 Translation from The Tablet, v. 137, p. 249 (August 21, 1920). Original Italian, 
Civiltb Cctttolica, 1920, v. 3, p. 369 (August 14, 1920). 


[689-693] BENEDICT XV 


THE WAR. 230 

Benedict XV will not be content until the armistice is 
followed by a complete reconciliation of hearts. 

October 31, 1920 

689 Indeed, how lively and great is Our joy now 

that We receive the first pilgrims o Germany to come here after 

the terrible scourge of the World War! We do not wish to 

mention anew what We have recently said, that Our heart will 
not be at peace until a complete reconciliation of hearts has fol- 
lowed the armistice. . . . 

690. You, Our dear ones, are the first to make the journey to 
Rome since those enmities of war have come to an end. Those 
hostilities made Our position so perilous, since We well knew that 
We had sons in each of the two opposing camps. Not only in the 
order of time are you the first to come to Us, but you shall also 
lead others to the re-establishment of cordial relations, at least among 
all sons of the Catholic Church. . . . We confine Ourself now 
to remind you, that the Apostolic See cannot enjoy this peace that 
you desire, without the concord of all its sons in the profession of 
one and the same teaching and in the practice of one and the 
same love. . . . 

691. ... We offer the German Catholics Our blessings and 
good wishes, because they are united with Us in the same Faith 
by the bond of the love of Christ Proper fratres meos et proximos 
meos loquebar pacem de te. For the sakf of my brethren, and of 
my neighbors, I spofe peace of thee?^ . . . 

692. To Germany, too, We say: May there be peace in your 
midst! But, without departing from the language of the Bible, 
We wish you, in these words, not only that the horrors of a new 
war may forever remain far from your land, but also that fine 
customs, domestic peace, progress in industry and commerce, art 
and science in a word, all those goods that are the fruit of peace 
may blossom there. 

693. Our yearnings for your well-being, Our dearest sons, are 

230 German text from Lama, Papst und Kurie, pp. 202-204. Original text in Osserva- 

tore Romano, November I, 1920. 

231 Psalms, 121, v. 8. 



so strong that it would be folly to expect their fulfillment by merely 
natural powers. And, therefore, We expect them first through the 
blessing of God, which We now call down on all German Catholics. 
May it please the Lord to strengthen by the superabundance of His 
grace and blessing the illustrious German episcopate, which We 
here and now cordially greet in the person of its worthy represen- 
tative, the Archbishop of Cologne, here present. May God bless 
all the clergy and the whole Catholic population of Germany, and 
may this blessing of God draw the clergy and the people more and 
more closely around their bishops and through these around the 
Holy See. May the Lord bless in a special manner these pilgrims 
who have gathered around Us on this memorable day. May their 
families and communities, too, share in this blessing. And, why 
should We not extend Our wishes and blessings also to those Ger- 
mans who have not yet returned into the arms of Holy Mother the 
Church ? Yes, the whole land of St. Boniface be blessed in memory 
of the joy that this, the first pilgrimage of several of its sons, has 
given Us. 


The Pope is gravely concerned over the Austrian youth. 
November 26, 1920 

694. We clearly understand from your common letter the 
enormity of fear that is yours, the superabundant cares that are 
yours and, for these reasons, you and your flock are constantly be- 
fore Our eyes and in Our heart. We are gravely concerned about 
these troubles, especially the needs of youth and We intend once 
again to come to their aid. The subjects, with which, as you an- 
nounce, your careful planning in your meeting was engaged, con- 
firm again the praise bestowed upon your diligence and merit from 
yet another motive Our good wishes for you. Regardless of the 
present state of your affairs, regardless of what the future has in 
store, you shall not labor in vain. For the rest, Beloved Son and 
Venerable Brethren, be of brave heart, trust in God, for He is 
faithful and will not leave the just man in uncertainty forever. . . . 

282 Original Latin, A.A.S., v. 13, p. 12 (January 3, 1921). 



THE WAR. 233 

A call to Christians, especially the young, to contribute 
to the relief of the suffering children of the belligerent 

December i, 1920 

695. A whole year has now passed since We (when the war 
was but a thing o yesterday) called upon all Christians, at the 
approach of the birthday of Our Lord, 234 to turn their hearts in 
pity toward the children of Central Europe, who were so severely 
afflicted by hunger and want that they were wasting away with 
disease and were face to face with death. And, indeed, a wondrous 
joy it is to Us that Our appeal has not fallen vainly to the ground 
an appeal which was actuated by that charity which enfolds in its 
kindly embrace all men, without distinction of race or nation, 
whosoever bear within them the image of God. The happy issue 
of Our supplication, Venerable Brethren, is especially well known 
to you who assisted Us zealously in so salutary an enterprise. For, 
in truth, a generous supply of money has been collected from the 
peoples of every land. There has been, as it were, a noble com- 
petition in liberality, with the result that the Common Father of 
so many innocent children has been able to look to their necessities 
and dissipate their sorrows. Nor do We cease to proclaim the kindly 
Providence of God, Whom it has pleased to use Us as a channel 
whereby the manifold blessings of Christian charity might flow 
to His abandoned little ones. In this matter We cannot desist 
from offering a public tribute of praise to the society, entitled the 
"Save the Children Fund," which has exerted all possible care and 
diligence in the collection of money, clothing and food. But, indeed, 
the general scarcity and the high cost of living, which the war has 
brought in its train, are of such a complex and varied character 
that the assistance We have rendered has perhaps neither succeeded 
in reaching those parts of Europe where necessity pressed hard, 
nor, where help was given, has it always been adequate to the 
actual need. To this must be added the fact that in the course of 

233 Translation from The Tablet, v. 137, p. 872 (December 25, 1920). Original Latin, 

A.A.S., v. 12, pp. 553-556 (December i, 1920). 

234 See supra nn. 655-660. 



the year following the Encyclical Letter which We addressed to you, 
Venerable Brethren, on this very topic, there has been no appreciable 
improvement in the lot of most of those areas where it is evident 
that the people, and especially the young, find life growing yet 
harder and harder owing to the shortage of the necessaries of life. 
Nay, in some parts, war has flamed out anew and calamities of 
every kind, to the serious loss of those very elements that it is neces- 
sary to re-establish; in other parts where the civil state has been 
overthrown and where most frightful and disgraceful massacres 
have been perpetrated, it has come about that numberless families 
have been reduced to penury; that wives have been bereft of their 
husbands, and children of their parents; there are many districts, 
too, where it is so difficult to make provision for the food supply 
that as a consequence the population is afflicted by almost the same 
hardships which pressed upon it in the hideous days of the war. 
696. Wherefore once again, inspired by the consciousness of 
that universal fatherhood which it is Our office to sustain, and 
with the words of the Divine Master on Our lips/ have compas- 
sion on the multitude . . . for they have nothing to eat 235 now, 
when the anniversary day of the birth of Christ draws nigh, a 
second time We call loudly upon Christian peoples to give Us the 
means whereby We may offer some relief to the sick and suffering 
children, of whatsoever nationality they may be. Yes, We call on 
all who have hearts of kindness and pity to make a generous offer- 
ing, but in particular We turn to those young children who dwell 
in the more prosperous cities of the world, to those who can with 
comparative ease stretch out a helping hand to their poor little 
brothers in Christ. Is not the birthday of Christ Jesus in an especial 
manner the feast of the young? See, then, how the desolate chil- 
dren of those scattered districts strain suppliant hands to those other 
happier children, and seem to point to the cradle where the Divine 
Infant cries in helplessness! Yet, is not that Infant the Common 
Brother of them all, He, Who being rich became poor Who from 
that manger, as from the throne of heavenly wisdom, silently teaches 
us not only the value of brotherly love but also how men from their 
tenderest years onward must detach themselves from the longing 
for the goods of this world and share them with the poor? . . . 


XV, 32- 

236 II Corinthians, VIII, 9. 

[697-699] BENEDICT XV 

697. Surely the children of the richer parts of Europe will have 
it in their power to nourish and clothe those little ones of their 
own age who languish in want, and especially should this be so 
at the approaching season of the Nativity of Our Lord, which 
parents are wont to render still happier for their children by little 
gifts and presents. And shall We think that these last are endowed 
with such a spirit as to be unwilling to contribute even a part of 
their own little savings, whereby they might strengthen the weak- 
ness of children who are in want? Oh 3 what a deep consolation, 
what joys they will secure for themselves, if haply they become 
the means whereby those little brothers of theirs, who are deprived 
of all help and all pleasure, should spend the approaching Christmas 
time just a little more comfortably, just a little more happily. For 
even as the Infant Jesus on the night of His birth blessed with a 
most sweet smile the shepherds who came to Him with gifts to 
lighten the burden of His poverty, and even as He brightened their 
souls with the supreme gift of faith, so He will reward with His 
blessing and heavenly graces those children who, fired with love 
for Him, shall soften the misery and the sorrow of their little 
brothers. Nay, there is nothing else more acceptable to the Infant 
Jesus that they could do or offer at this season. And so We earnestly 
exhort all Christian parents, to whom the Heavenly Father has 
committed the grave charge of training their offspring in the prac- 
tice of charity and the other virtues, to use this happy opportunity 
of exciting and cultivating in the minds of their children sentiments 
of humanity and holy compassion. . . . 

698. . . . Oh, how Our heart would expand if We were certain 
that throughout the Christmas festivities there would be no home 
destitute of consolation and joy, that there would be no child whose 
sorrow should wring the dear heart of its mother, and that there 
would be no mother who should look upon her little ones with 
weeping eyes. And so, Venerable Brethren, We entrust Our project 
to you, even as We did a year ago, that you may bring it into effect, 
especially those of you who dwell in districts which enjoy a happier 
fortune and a more tranquil state of affairs. 

699. And inasmuch as those words of Christ Our Lord should 
take deep possession of your souls, He that shall receive one such 
little child in My name, receiveth Me, 237 We beg that you leave 

237 "Matthew, XVIII, 5. 



no measure untried whereby the liberality and generosity of the 
faithful over whom you are set may correspond to the urgency 
of the present need. Accordingly it is Our wish that you forthwith 
announce throughout the whole of your several dioceses that a 
collection of alms is to be made on the twenty-eighth day of this 
month, the feast of the Holy Innocents, or if you prefer, on the 
Sunday immediately preceding, for the support of the children 
made needy by the war, and that you particularly recommend this 
collection to the children in your diocese; further, that with all the 
diligence in your power you see that the money thus collected is 
sent either to Us or to the "Save the Children Fund," which We 
have before mentioned. For Ourself, in order that, after exhort- 
ing the faithful by Our words, We may stir their generosity by Our 
example, We have set apart 100,000 Italian lire for this most sacred 
work of charity. . . . 



The provisions of the Versailles Treaty for the Catholic 
Missions have not been satisfactorily fulfilled. 

December 16, 1920 

700 Another cause for particular concern to Us comes 

from the fact that the Catholic Missions are in great peril; in fact, 
nothing must be nearer Our heart, whose special duty it is to carry 
on the work of Christ, than the Missions. You remember what 
We said on this very important topic last year while We were 
addressing you on the third of July, 239 that decisions of the Versailles 
Conference which aflfected the Catholic Missions seemed to Our 
joy in great measure, if not completely, to be well adapted to their 
needs, and that We were confident at the same time that the honor- 
able delegates would show the same fairness of rnind in carrying 
out their decisions which they used in making them. However, the 
matter did not in all cases have that result for which We rightly 
were hoping. For in many places it continued for some time to 
be the case that the Apostolic work of Holy Church among the 

238 Original Latin, A.A.S., v. 12, p. 588 (December 17, 1920). 
239 Cf. supra n. 635. 


[701-703] BENEDICT XV 

unbelievers was hindered and slowed up by numerous difficulties. 
We indeed, as far as it was in Our power, left nothing undone to 
remove anything which stood in the way, nor was the effort entirely 
in vain. Nevertheless, there remain even now, in some places, con- 
ditions which are causing delay and hindrance to the Missions with 
incredible loss of souls. These are, no doubt, the sad consequences 
of the war by which the world has so long been disturbed. That 
they may be removed as soon as possible, and that the Church be 
in no way hindered in spreading Christianity, is the demand not 
only of religion, but of civilization as well 

NALS. 240 

War causes not only material but also moral ruin. 
December 24, 1920 

701 You, My Lord Cardinal, in presenting to Us the 

wishes of the Sacred College for the coming Feast of Christmas, 
have been obliged to bring before Our notice again that, although 
hostility of arms has ceased in great measure, nevertheless, "there 
still lies upon the world an immense burden of misgivings and ills, 
aggravated by the internal strife of peoples and by the struggles 
of the classes of society." 

702. As you have declared, My Lord Cardinal, there still re- 
mains a task so serious and difficult as not to have had its counter- 
part in any other period of history; the duty, before all, of restor- 
ing peace to souls, which, if it is evidently necessary where actual 
warfare is still raging, is no less so where the external war of arms 
has yielded place to the internal war of souls; and with the task of 
pacification there remains another, equally important, that of re- 
storing order and custom without which there is no civil life. 

703. The war . . . now allayed for two years, but not yet spent 
in all parts of the globe, if it has sown material ruin which has 
wasted humanity, and which even at present moves every heart to 
pity, especially on beholding the wretched plight of children, much 
more has it sown moral ruin, to which human wisdom, preoccupied 
only with thoughts of power, boundaries, and material resources, 
has never given a thought. 

240 Original Italian, La Civiltd, Cattolica, 1921, v, i, pp. 113-114 (January 7, 1921). 




Mankind needs the peace which Christ brought to the 

January 6, 1921 

704 ....... For above all things Francis wished Tertiaries 

to be distinguished, as by a special badge, by brotherly love, such 
as is keenly solicitous of peace and harmony. Knowing this to be 
the particular precept of Jesus Christ, containing in itself the ful- 
fillment of the Christian law, he was most anxious to conform to it 
the minds of his followers. By that very fact he succeeded in 
rendering the Third Order the greatest boon to human society. 
Burning with a seraphic love of God and man, Francis could not 
contain his charity within his bosom; he must pour it forth upon 
all within reach. Hence, though he began by reforming the private 
and domestic life of the members and adorning it with Christian 
virtues, as though he intended nothing else, still he had no mind 
to content himself with that. He employed the reformation of 
individuals as a means to arouse in the hearts of the people a love 
of Christian wisdom and to win all unto Jesus Christ. This plan 
of Francis, to have his Tertiaries act as heralds and messengers of 
peace amid the far-spread hostilities and civil upheavals of his age, 
We also entertained when recently almost all the world was aflame 
with a horror-laden war; and We entertain it still, for the conflagra- 
tion is not totally extinguished, rather, its embers are smoking 
everywhere and in some places even flaring. Coupled with this 
mischief is an ailment in the vitals of our government brought on 
by long-standing oblivion and contempt of Christian principles 
namely, class struggling so bitterly with class about the distribution 
of wealth that the world is threatened with ruin. 

705. On this immense field of action, to which We, as Vicar of 
the King of Peace, have devoted special care and thought, We 
desire to gather the concerted efforts of all children of Christian 
peace, but especially of the Tertiaries, whose influence in restoring 
harmony of sentiments will be something wonderful, once their 
number and their enterprise have generally increased. It is desir- 

241 Translation from Rome Hath $po\en, pp. 41-43. Original Latin, A.A.S., v. 13, 
pp. 36-37 (January 24, 1921). 



able, therefore, that every town and village and hamlet should have 
many members of the Order not indeed slack members, content 
with the mere name of Tertiaries, but active and eager for their 
own and their neighbor's salvation. Why should not the numerous 
and various associations of young people, of workmen, of women, 
existing everywhere throughout the Catholic world, join the Third 
Order, and inspired with St. Francis' zeal for peace and charity 
devote themselves persistently to the glory of Christ and the pros- 
perity of the Church? Mankind needs not the sort of peace that 
is built up on the laborious deliberations of worldly prudence, but 
that peace which was brought to us by Christ when He declared, 
My peace I give unto you; not as the world gives, do I give unto 
you. 242 A man-made treaty, whether of States or of classes among 
themselves, can neither endure nor have at all the value of real 
peace, unless it rests upon a peaceful disposition; but the latter can 
exist only where duty, as it were, puts the bridle on the passions, for 
it is they that give rise to discord of whatever kind. From whence, 
asks the Apostle, are wars and contentions among you? Are they 
not hence, from your concupiscences, which war in your mem- 
bers? 2 ** Now, it is Christ Who avails to harmonize all that is in 
man, making him, not serve, but command his desires, obedient 
and submissive always to the will of God; and this harmony is 
the foundation of all peace. In the Order of Franciscan Tertiaries, 
that power of Christ displays itself to wonderful effect 


STATE. 244 

Conditions in Austria, as constituted by the Versailles 
Treaty, are absolutely intolerable. 

January 24, 1921 

706. The specially unhappy conditions now prevailing in Aus- 
tria, following on the fortunes of the war and the Treaty of Peace, 
have now assumed such a serious character that We can no longer 
remain silent. This noble and illustrious nation, which has acquired 

n, XIV, 27. 

243 James, IV, i. 

244 Translation from The Tablet, v. 138, p. 177 (February 5, 1921). Original Italian, 

Civilth Cattolica, 1921, v. I, pp. 258-259 (January 29, 1921). 



so many merits during the course of centuries for its defense of the 
Faith and Christian civilization, has lost all its ancient splendor 
and is reduced to about six million inhabitants, of whom at least a 
third live in the city of Vienna alone. Previously that capital was 
the center of a vast and flourishing empire, from which it received 
an abundance of resources and products of every kind; now it is 
like a head severed from its body, and is in the throes of misery 
and desperation. Commerce has ceased, industry is paralyzed, 
money is enormously depreciated, and it is impossible to see how 
Austria can find in itself the means to exist as a State and give its 
people bread and work. The results of such a condition of things 
are being felt grievously by all classes, especially the poor, the sick 
and the young, on whose behalf We have appealed repeatedly to 
the charity of all good people. It is true that various Governments 
have been moved to pity by the realization of this terrible state of 
things, and have promised help and subsidies to this afflicted coun- 
try; but even if this help were given immediately it could not be 
thoroughly effective, inasmuch as, as We have said, Austria lacks 
the elements necessary for its own proper existence. In drawing 
attention to this very unhappy state of things We do not intend to 
seek where to place responsibility or blame. We simply lament 
and public opinion is unanimously with Us that the actual con- 
ditions in Austria are absolutely intolerable, as they take away from 
an entire nation the possibility of getting the means of existence 
which the Creator has put at the disposition of all men. In thus 
speaking, My Lord Cardinal, We are sure that We are voicing 
the sentiments of humanity and Christian fraternity in the hearts 
of all good men, and which all civil peoples, without distinction of 
conquerors, conquered or neutral, have shown clearly when faced 
with the unhappy lot of Austria. For the, rest, it is not for Us to 
propose a practical solution of the question, the solution of which, 
as it is of an eminently political character, is the business of the 
Governments, specially those who signed the Treaty of Peace. We 
are moved by the love of the Divine Master, which embraces all, 
particularly those suffering, and We confine Ourself, My Lord 
Cardinal, to asking you to call the attention of the Diplomatic 
Corps accredited to the Holy See to this very serious matter, spe- 
cially those who are in a position to act with most effect, that they 
may bring Our wish before their respective Governments, and that, 


[707-7^] BENEDICT XV 

inspired by the principles of humanity and justice, they may take 
the necessary practical steps. . . . 


The Pope discusses the "Flanders Question' and gives 
advice on the language problem. 

February 10, 1921 

707. We have always, as you well know, exercised Our paternal 
care and affection for the well-being of the Belgian people not only 
while the horrible struggle was in progress, but also when the Peace 
of Versailles had been completed; consequently, We thank God, 
the Giver of all good things, that He has granted Us to see how your 
country, due to the unhesitating patriotism and ingenuity of all 
ranks of citizens, is already happily revived and renewed to the 
point that even the hope of realizing its former prosperity can now 
be envisioned. 

708. Nevertheless, We want you to know, Venerable Brethren, 
that We are deeply concerned over rumors of dissension and dis- 
cord, brought about by that long discussed controversy, known as 
the "Flanders Question." Yes, it is a difficult problem and a com- 
plex one, and even those who agree in principle cannot agree 
on the solution. At this time, therefore, We intend only to touch 
upon those aspects of the problem which pertain to religion, for 
Our care, as it always must be, is for the good of souls. Similarly, 
Our Predecessor, Leo XIII, in writing to the Bishops of Bohemia 
and Moravia (August 20, 1901 ) 246 about differences which had 
arisen between their people because of language, stated that he 
would not participate in these disputes; but because of his Apostolic 
Office, he would always be on guard lest the cause of religion suffer 
because of these quarrels. "We have decided" so he said "to 
abstain from proposing any solution to this affair. A defense of 
one's native language is not reprehensible, if it is kept within rea- 
sonable limits. For the principles which hold for the defense of 
other private rights can be applied here, so long as the common 
good does not suffer from their application. It is the duty of those 

245 Original Latin, A.A.S., v. 13, pp. 127-128 (March u, 1921). 
24Q Cf. supra nn. 230-233. 



who administer the affairs o State to safeguard the rights o in- 
dividuals in such a way that the common good may be protected. 
Our duty, however, is clear. It is to watch carefully lest religion, 
which is die first and chief good of souls, and the origin of all 
other benefits, be imperiled by these controversies." 

709. We are motivated, Venerable Brethren, by the same con- 
cern. We are prompted to write to you for the same reason. There 
is a danger that in these controversies the bonds of charity between 
fellow citizens may be weakened, or that that harmony by which 
small projects grow into great projects, and without which the 
greatest achievements can be destroyed that harmony may be 
wiped out. There is a danger, too, and this is the greatest, that 
the clergy may lose something of its dignity and the efficacy of its 
ministry, if it takes sides too zealously in these disputes 

710. Therefore, it will be your duty, Venerable Brethren, to 
watch and to see that the priest fashion the education of the youth 
upon a supernatural plane (a work, by the way, to which he should 
be drawn by a consciousness of his office) . And, consequently, the 
priest will be easily identified and acknowledged as the "man of 
God." If the priest is to gather those abundant fruits of his labor, 
which he so ardently desires, let him be above all instructed in all 
those things which "the times" demand, and which will make him 
useful, pleasing, and acceptable to his flock. Above all, he must 
understand and correctly use the vernacular, which people of par- 
ticular sections may have, and with which he must communicate 
Catholic doctrine; otherwise the exercise of his ministry will be 
patently a failure. ...... 


DINALS. 247 

Christian regeneration will of itself bring bac\ peace 
and tranquillity. 

March 7, 1921 

711. It is indeed a pleasure for Us to see your august body 
assembled round Us once more, that We may speak with you on 

S * T Translation from The Tablet, v. 138, pp. 373*374 (March 19, 1921). Original 
Latin, A.A. r v. 13, pp. 121-123 (March n 1921). 


[7 11 ] BENEDICT XV 

the interests of the Church and the good of souls entrusted to Our 
charge. We wish that We could put a bright picture before you, 
but the sad state of things prevents it, and indeed the disorder 
and strife still prevailing in various parts of the world cause Us 
serious anxiety. In Our unfailing desire to do everything possible to 
remedy these evils. We have lost no opportunity of helping society 
toward peace and tranquillity; which tranquillity frequently society 
gained for itself in centuries past by listening to the Church. That is 
why We took advantage recently of the celebration of the seventh 
centenary of the Third Order of St. Francis to invite the whole world 
to that spirit of self-sacrifice and Christian charity by means of 
which St. Francis of Assisi, in his desire to bring back souls to 
God, remedied in such great measure the disorders of his times. 
And, indeed, never was there such need as there is today of calling 
to the practice of self-sacrifice and brotherly love this poor human- 
ity, first scourged by war, now thrown into disorder by lust for 
the things of this earth and by political passions; never was it 
so necessary as it is today that the reformation of the individual 
on Christian lines should be raised to check effectively the pagan- 
ism which is really infiltrating into every manifestation of public 
and private life. If it is true indeed that the actual state of war has 
ceased, still a sure and lasting peace has not yet come to bring 
consolation to the world, much less has there come back into fami- 
lies and all classes, social and national, the tranquillity and order 
which arise from the spirit of brotherhood and Christian solidarity. 
We see today the miserable spectacle of fratricidal strife among 
citizens of the same nation, among peoples born and grown up 
almost on the same land, and now fighting hand to hand for it, 
raising a barrier of hatred and enmity between themselves. We see, 
too, old latent differences between nations breaking out again in a 
display of violence utterly at variance with the rules of humanity 
and morality and which We deplore, from whichever side it comes. 
By now it is evident to all that the rules of peace so laboriously 
elaborated by even the most experienced politicians are truly writ- 
ten on treaties, but they can never become living things, nor have 
strength or power, nor penetrate consciences unless in the first place 
they are based on the principles of justice and equity, and in the 
second place there arise again in minds and hearts those principles 
which transformed the world from pagan to Christian and in the 



day of St. Francis of Assisi healed and restored a society full o 
disorder and corruption. Only by the control of one's own passion 
comes the interior order of the individual, base of social order; only 
by the Christian practice of brotherly love will arise again among 
social classes and peoples the mutual trust which is the fount of 
true and lasting peace. This is what We invoke with Our whole 
heart of the Divine Goodness, this Christian regeneration which of 
itself will bring back peace and tranquillity on earth, hoping at the 
same time that the centenary we have been celebrating may spread 
the spirit of St. Francis 


The Pope exhorts the Irish and the English to submit 
their difficulties to arbitration. 

April 27, 1921 

712. When in the mysterious designs of God We were raised 
to this Chair of Peter, Europe was ablaze with war. You are aware 
that with a full consciousness of Our Apostolic Office We en- 
deavored, to the utmost of Our power, to remedy the numerous 
and terrible evils begotten of this dreadful conflict, and to reconcile 
men to peace. We are grieved to say, that though We left nothing 
undone to restore peace, Our efforts more than once proved in- 
effectual. But indeed, as We have already frequently said, nations 
will never enjoy, either at home or abroad, lasting tranquillity un- 
less they return to those Christian principles which they have 
abandoned, and which the Church hands down by her teaching. 
Meanwhile We are filled with anguish, when We consider that 
not a few nations are still oppressed by the weight of woes pro- 
duced by the war. For although the clash of arms has almost 
everywhere ceased, yet, on account of the extreme scarcity of the 
necessaries of life, many of every age and sex, and those the inno- 
cent, are being cut off, whilst everywhere, even amongst the na- 
tions that have emerged victorious from the conflict, there are 
apparent signs of solicitude and anxiety which compel all goo^l 

248 Translation from Irish Ecclesiastical Record, sen 5, v. 17, pp. 646-647 (June, 1921). 
Original Latin, A^iJS., v. 13, pp. 256-258 (June I, 1921). 


[? I 3"7 I 4] BENEDICT XV 

men to dread disaster yet to come. It is, however, a matter of 
some consolation to Us that from the contributions so liberally sent 
Us from all countries We have been enabled more than once to 
bring some measure of relief to impoverished peoples. 

713. But while We are filled with anxiety in regard to all na- 
tions, We are most especially concerned about the condition of 
Ireland. Unflinching, even unto the shedding of blood, in her 
devotion to the ancient Faith and in her reverence for the Holy 
See, she is subjected today to the indignity of devastation and 
slaughter. There is assuredly no doubt that harsh and cruel occur- 
rences of this kind are in great part attributable to the recent war, 
for neither has sufficient consideration been given to the desires of 
nations, nor have the fruits of peace which peoples promised to 
themselves been reaped. But in the public strife which is taking 
place in your country it is the deliberate counsel of the Holy See 
a counsel consistently acted upon up to the present in similar 
circumstances to take sides with neither of the contending parties. 
Such neutrality, however, by no means prevents Us from wishing 
and desiring, nor even from praying and beseeching the contending 
parties, that the frenzy of the strife may as soon as possible subside, 
and that a lasting peace and a sincere union of hearts may take 
the place of this terrible enmity. For, indeed, We do not perceive 
how this bitter strife can profit either of the parties, when property 
and homes are being ruthlessly and disgracefully laid waste, when 
villages and farmsteads are being set Aflame, when neither sacred 
places nor sacred persons are spared, when on both sides a war 
resulting in the death of unarmed people, even of women and 
children, is carried on. 

714. Mindful, therefore, of the Apostolic Office and moved by 
that charity which embraces all men, We exhort English as well as 
Irish to consider calmly whether the time has not arrived to aban- 
don violence and treat of some means of mutual agreement. For 
this end We think it would be opportune if effect were given to 
the plan recently suggested by distinguished men as well as skilled 
politicians: that is to say, that the question at issue should be 
referred for discussion to some body of men selected by the whole 
Irish nation, and when this conference has published its findings, 
let the more influential among both parties meet together and 
having put forward and discussed the views and conclusions ar- 



rived at on both sides, let them determine by common consent 
on some means of settling the question in a sincere spirit of peace 

and reconciliation. 


DINALS. 249 

// the flame of war has been almost quenched, the 
iniquitous spirit of it remains. 

June 13, 1921 

715 If We turn Our eyes from Palestine to Europe, 

there, too, is seen an unhappy spectacle. Recent events, as you 
know well, Venerable Brethren, have shown all too clearly that 
disagreements and competitions between the peoples have not 
ceased, and that if indeed the flame of war has been almost 
quenched, the iniquitous spirit of it remains, nevertheless. Where- 
fore, renewing once again Our urgent appeal to all heads of 
Governments of good will, We ask that by their counsel and in- 
stance they may bring about that the peoples, each and every one, 
may put aside enmity "one to another, and after discussion in the 
spirit of Christian charity may resolve all such differences as still 
exist between them, and so may come to troubled Europe the 
peace for which all long. ...... 


Benedict XV insists that Poland must be an inde- 
pendent nation. 

July 16, 1921 

716 In the same letter you mention some of those 

benefits which We have striven to confer upon the Polish people. 
But far greater and far more illustrious examples are at hand from 
history as proofs of that special love which this Apostolic See has 

249 Translation from The Tablet, v. 138, p. 822 (June 25, 1921). Original Latin, 

A^i.S., v. 15, p. 283 (June 18, 1921). 
250 Original La ; titt, A~A.S., v. 13, pp. 424-425 (September I, 1921). 

3 11 

[7*7-7 l8 ] BENEDICT XV 

always felt toward your nation. . . . When in the recent great war 
there were some who affirmed that Poland would be sufficiently 
provided for if there should be granted to her a sort of autonomy 
which was being promised, this Holy See alone affirmed many 
times and emphatically that full and perfect liberty, that is, what 
is called independence, was necessary for Poland, and that the 
greatest care should be taken that she might flourish again in her 
pristine dignity as a moral person. 

717. This love and this zeal of Ours toward your nation, Be- 
loved Sons and Venerable Brethren, is fixed by one limit only, 
namely, that which is indicated by duty and justice. For when 
peoples contend with one another about their individual designs, 
it is the duty of the Roman Pontiff, the Common Parent of all men, 
to favor neither side and to keep himself impartial, toward both 
parties. This procedure the Roman Pontiffs have always followed, 
and We maintained it while the great war was being waged, and 
even recently before the plebiscite of Upper Silesia, whatever 
malevolent men, or certainly men having too little respect for this 
Holy See, may have said or continue to say. But if, when the 
greedy desires of men are enkindled, it happens and experience 
teaches that it happens not rarely that the right of another is 
violated, We are led by the same sanctity of duty to censure 
and condemn such violation, from whatever source it may have 

The Pope prays for peace in Italy. 
July 25, 1921 

718. God of goodness and forgiveness, with lacerated heart we 
surround Thy altars and implore pity. After the horror of war the 
most terrible scourge is this fierce hatred which makes men of the 
same family persecute and kill each other in -party strife. The land 
most famed for Christian piety, cradle of civil kindness, is becom- 
ing once again a bloodstained field of civil war. Have pity, O Lord! 
Thou Who hast revealed the noble law of pardon of offenses and 

251 Translation from The Tablet, v. 138, pp. 181-182 (August 6, 1921). Original 
Italian, A^i.S., v. 13, pp. 369-370 (August i, 1921). 



love o enemies, cause those who are not even enemies but are 
indeed brothers to embrace again, cause that, after the bloody weapons 
of war have been laid down, all may repeat in the beloved mother 
tongue the prayer that Thou didst teach: Our Father Who art in 
heaven; and that all who have seen Thy Son open His heart and 
His arms to those who crucified Him may feel their souls flooded 
with burning love and may say with humility and trust: Forgive 
us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us. Virgin 
Immaculate, Queen of Hearts, come down among thy children 
and make them hear thy Mother's voice. Thou alone by thy inter- 
cession canst reconcile them with Almighty God and reconcile 
them among themselves; thou alone canst give them a taste of the 
sweetness of the peace that is a prelude of eternal life. Amen. 


STATE. 252 

In Russia the war is followed by plague and famine 
which the Holy Father endeavors to relieve. 

August 5, 1921 

719. The news which has reached Us lately of the conditions 
of the Russian people is, as you, My Lord Cardinal, well know, 
terribly serious. As far as can be gathered from the first short and 
reserved accounts, We are faced with one of the most appalling 
catastrophies in history. Masses of human beings, at the very last 
stage of exhaustion, and ravaged by hunger, typhus and cholera, 
are wandering desperately through a land now barren, and seeking 
to reach the more populous centres where they hope to find bread, 
and whence they are being driven back by force of arms. From 
the Volga basin, faced by the most terrible of deaths, many millions 
of men are invoking the aid of their human kind. This cry of 
suffering, My Lord Cardinal, has wounded Us deeply. It is a case 
of a people already terribly tried by the scourge of war; a people 
on whom shines the character of Christ and one always firm in its 
determination to belong to the great Christian family. Separated 
indeed as they are from Us by the barriers which long centuries 

252 Translation from The Tablet, v. 138, p. 245 (August 20, 1921). Original Italian, 
A.A.S., v. 13, pp. 428-429 (September i, 1921). 



have raised, they are the nearer to Our heart of a father in pro- 
portion to the greatness of the trials through which they are passing. 
My Lord Cardinal, We feel the duty laid on Us to do all that Our 
poverty makes possible to help Our far-off children. But the ruin 
is so vast that the peoples must unite to make provision, and no 
effort, however great, will be excessive in face of the immensity 
o the disaster. Therefore, We ask you, My Lord Cardinal, to use 
all the means at your disposal to bring home to the governments of 
the different nations the need for prompt and efficacious common 
action. Our appeal is directed first of all to the Christian peoples 
who know the infinite charity of the Divine Redeemer Who gave 
His .blood to make all brothers; then it is addressed to all other 
civil peoples, because every man worthy of the name must feel the 
duty of helping where another man is dying. More than once dur- 
ing the years of suffering through which We are passing the Holy 
See has raised its voice among the nations, mindful of the high and 
sweet mission which Almighty God has entrusted to it. If Our 
word is now heard again, imploring charity before the last echo 
of Our recent exhortations and prayers has died away, that is solely 
because the new disaster is equal to, perhaps greater ^than past 
troubles. And at the same time may all the faithful of the Church 
of Christ scattered throughout the world, while they bring their 
offering for their brothers dying of hunger, raise to Almighty God 
in all trust their prayers that He may deign to help Us to hasten 
the end of so terrible a scourge. . . . 


The Holy Father exhorts all nations to help Russia. 

September, 1921 

720. The reports arriving from Russia become even more 
grave, and the misery is so great that only the united effort of all, 
the collaboration of both people and government, can bring about a 
remedy. Hence, We address, by means of Your Excellency, the 
Representatives of the nations reassembled there, and We appeal to 
their sense of humanity and fraternity in order that adequate meas- 
ures may quickly be taken to save the unhappy Russians. 

255 Original Italian, Civiltd, Cattotica, 1921, v. 4, p. 167 (October 6, 1921). 



ORDER OF ST. pRANcis. 254 

Despite the peace treaties wars continue in the world. 
September 19, 1921 

7 23C It is a sorrowful sight to see the troubles which 

the poisoned germ of discord, nourished by a partisan spirit, has 
raised in the midst of peoples that were but yesterday calm and 
peaceful; one's heart aches at seeing brothers tearing and killing 
each other; certainly it is hardly in conformity with the customs of 
civilized peoples to perpetuate bellicose attitudes between the sub- 
jects of nations which, belligerents yesterday^ are to-day joined by 
peace treaties. 

722. What is the source of so much evil? It is because men 
have lost sight of the order which must prevail in the world; it is 
because they refuse to recognize in practice the class differences 
which God has established in society; it is because they make the 
mistake of believing that everything ends with this earthly existence, 
without thinking that the goods of the exile must be used only to 
acquire those of heaven. 

723. Now, it is these false ideas rooted in men's minds, these 
vicious attachments of the heart that are directly combated by the 
spirit of St. Francis, which has been aptly defined as a "spirit of 
concord, of charity and of peace." Thus, what a joy it is for Us to 
learn that it is this spirit which has hovered over the recent Con- 
gress. Therefrom We can conclude that the resolutions which were 
there made will not be long in manifesting themselves as the salt of 
the earth, the proper remedy for the evils of our time 


Benedict XV prays for the success of the Conference. 
November 10, 1921 

724* On the eve of the opening of the Conference met to re- 
solve the great international questions regarding the Far East and 

254 Original Italian, Ciwltb C&ttdtca, 1921, v. 4, pp. 72-73 (September 23, 1921). 
256 Translation from The Tablet, v. 138, p. 741 (December 3, 1921). Original Italian, 
Clviltci Cattolica, 1921, v. 4, p. 458 (November 26, 1921). 


thus to reach disarmament. We pray fervently to God for the happy 
success of the initiative taken by the Chief Magistrate of the great 
American Republic for the uplifting of trembling humanity. 

Peace at home and abroad is the one thing now desired 
by all people. 

November 21, 1921 

725. While it is a pleasure to meet you once again, there are 
at the same time many reasons for anxious consideration, the most 
important of which is the new organization of relations between 
the Church and several States. No one can help noting how, 
since the recent terrible war, new States have arisen and also some 
previously existing have now largely increased territory. There is 
much that might be said on this point which for the moment need 
not be dwelt on, but it is obvious that these States have no right to 
claim those privileges which the Holy See had granted to others by 
Concordats or special conventions inasmuch as arrangements made 
between certain parties must not carry either advantage or detri- 
ment to others. We see, too, how, in consequence of serious and 
radical political changes, some States are now in a condition that 
they cannot be considered to be the same moral entity with which 
the Holy See treated before. From that it follows naturally that the 
agreements and conventions previously concluded between the Holy 
See and those States have no longer any value. Still, if the heads 
of such republics or States desire to stipulate new agreements with 
the Church more consonant with the changed political conditions, 
they may be assured that, where there is no special obstacle, the 
Holy See is disposed to treat with them as indeed it is already 
treating with some nations. But We declare once again to you, 
Venerable Brethren, that never will We allow that in such agree- 
ments anything shall find place that is contrary to the liberty and 
dignity of the Church, for it is most distinctly necessary in the inter- 
ests of civil society itself, especially in such times as these, that the 
liberty and dignity of the Church should be secure and intact. For 
it is undeniable that harmony between the civil and religious society 

256 Translation from The Tablet, v. 138, pp. 741-742 (December 3, 1921), Original 
Latin, A.A.S., v. 13, pp. 521-524 (November 23, 1921). 



is most necessary for the tranquillity of public order, the founda- 
tion of well-being in every sense. Peace, indeed, at home and 
abroad is the one thing now desired by the peoples who have 
suffered so much, and We see with the greatest sorrow and anxiety 
that the solemn Peace Treaty has not received the seal of peace of 
minds, and nearly all nations, especially in Europe, are even now 
being torn by such serious and bitter dissensions that for their settle- 
ment more than ever is felt the need of God's intervention. . . . 

726. Let us, then, have recourse to His mercy and not only 
seek it with humble prayers but endeavor to make it propitious to 
us with holiness of life and charity to those in need. . . . 

727. But if We turn specially to Almighty God to seek ready 
and efficacious remedy for the evils with which human society is 
overborne, not on that account do We intend that any means and 
remedies must be neglected that are suggested by reason and ex- 
perience. Certainly the rulers of the peoples must use such means 
and remedies in seeking to ensure the common good, but it would 
be in the highest degree wrong to count on them alone and not on 
divine aid. So We see with pleasure, Venerable Brethren, that the 
representatives of several nations have met in Washington for the 
purpose of coming to an agreement with regard to the reduction 
of armaments; and not only do We sincerely hope that their labors 
may reach a happy issue, but also, together with all good men, We 
pray God to illuminate them with the light of His wisdom, for 
not only is the object to lift a weight now insupportable from the 
peoples which in itself is no small thing but, what is more im- 
portant, to remove ... the danger of future wars 

Congres Democratique International?* 1 
The Holy Father blesses all true peace efforts. 
December 4, 1921 

728. The Holy Father thanks you for the sentiments which you 
have expressed to him in the name of the delegates to the First 
International Democratic Congress in Paris, and he prays God to 
bless the common efforts which you propose to make in the service 
of true peace for the peoples' welfare. 

257 Original French, Documentation Catholique, v. 7, c. 1165 (May 13, 1922). 





No PRELATE in modern times has come to the Throne of Peter 
with a background more varied than that of Achilles Car- 
dinal Ratti, who, as Pius XI, succeeded Benedict XV in 
1922. Country curate, Oxford lecturer, professor of sacred eloquence, 
apostle of Milanese chimney-sweeps, prefect of two great libraries, 
mountain climber, chaplain of a nun's convent, Papal Nuncio to 
the Republic of Poland, archbishop of a great diocese these were 
some of the positions he had filled before his election. A strong 
character, a devotion to exacting scholarship, a life so rich in experi- 
ence, all blended to form one of the greatest popes of the past 
three hundred years. 

Desio, in the foothills of Lombardy, was the town in which he 
was born on May 31, 1857, the fourth son of a silk weaver. His 
ecclesiastical studies were made at the Seminary of San Carlo in 
Milan and the Collegio Lombardo in Rome. After ordination in 
1879 an d two y^ a rs of graduate work for doctorates in canon 
law and theology at the Gregorian University and the Sapienza 
in Rome, he returned to Milan to do parochial work in the village 
of Barni. Shortly afterward he was selected to teach theology and 
sacred eloquence in his alma mater at Milan, till, five years later, 
he received an appointment as associate in the historic Ambrosian 
library. During the thirty-odd years he labored among the docu- 

ments of the library, he was a frequent contributor to learned 
reviews of Italy, concentrating largely on historical and paleograph- 
ical problems. Ever the priest, he acted as chaplain to the nuns 
of the Convent of the Cenacle, and gave much of his spare time to 
apostolic work among the working boys of the city. His holidays 
were spent in travel and in mountain climbing, and in 1889 he was 
the first Italian ever to scale the peak of Monte Rosa from the 
Italian side. Called to Rome in 1911, he was made Pro-Prefect of 
the Vatican Library, and in 1914 succeeded Father Ehrle as Prefect. 
Benedict XV sent Monsignor Ratti to Poland in 1918 as Apostolic 
Visitor to assist in the reorganization of the newly erected Polish 
Republic. His status was raised to Nuncio in 1919, and he was conse- 
crated titular Archbishop of Lepanto in the Cathedral of Warsaw. 
Returning to Rome in 1921, he was appointed Cardinal Archbishop 
of Milan, and was elected pope on February 65,1922. 

* "The Peace of Christ in the Reign of Christ" he chose as the ideal 
of his pontificate. A strong-willed, far-sighted, outspoken charac- 
ter, with a passion for work and the habit of initiative, Pius gave 
his flock seventeen years of vigorous leadership. Seldom has a pope 
seemed so conscious of the universal character of the Church. In 
thirty-seven penetrating encyclicals, he spoke his mind on the prob- 
lems of his age, taking the entire world into his confidence. Never 
has a pope done more to encourage the laymen to share in the 
apostolate of the priesthood. 

His accomplishments in the field of diplomacy were impressive. 
In 1929 he ended the troublesome Roman Question by concluding 
the Treaty of the Lateran with Italy, creating a tiny but independent 
state under his sovereignty. He concluded concordats with Latvia, 
Poland, Bavaria, Rumania, Lithuania, Prussia, Baden, Germany, 
Austria, Jugoslavia, and working agreements with Portugal and 
Czechoslovakia. Keenly aware of the dangers of Nationalism, he 
did not hesitate to condemn instances of exaggerated patriotism or 
State encroachment on the rights of die Church and the individual. 
U Action Fran$aise of the French Royalists was condemned in 1925; 
the governments of Russia, Germany, Spain, Italy and Mexico felt 
the sting of his criticism when they infringed on the rights of the 

His death on February 10, 1939, elicited an outpouring of admira- 
tion for his character and achievements from every quarter of the 




The best guarantee of peace is not a forest of bayonets, 
but mutual confidence and friendship, 

April 7, 1922 

729. It is with lively pleasure that We have read the timely 
letter which you have addressed to your people on the occasion 
of the international conference which brings together for the first 
time, in this glorious town, in amicable discussion, the victors and 
the vanquished, and toward which turn all the general hopes jof 
the peoples. As the representative of the God of peace and love, 
Who with particular providence has regard to the poor and needy, 
and Who in an unfathomable decision called Us so suddenly to 
take up, along with Our succession to the Pontificate, the mission 
of charity and peace of Our regretted Predecessor, We confidently 
hope that the representatives of the Powers will, with calm and 
in a spirit ready for any sacrifice on the altar of the common weal, 
consider the sad circumstances under which all nations are suffer- 
ing, this being the first condition for the finding of an efficacious 
remedy and the first real step toward that universal peace which 
everyone so ardently desires. 

730. If in the very shock of arms, according to the beautiful 
device of the Red Cross Inter arma caritas Christian charity ought 
to reign, that should hold good with all the stronger reason after 
arms have been laid down and treaties of peace have been signed, 
the more so since international enmities, which are the sad heritage 
of war, are prejudicial to the victor nations and the prelude of a 
difficult future for all. 

731. It should not be forgotten that the best guarantee of peace 
is not a forest of bayonets, but mutual confidence and friendship. 
If the conference should exclude from its discussions not only exist- 
ing treaties but also the reparations required, that need not prevent 
a further exchange of views which might help the conquered to a 

1 Translation from The Tablet, v. 139, p. 485 (April 15, 1922). Original Italian, 
A.A.S., v. i4 3 pp. 217-218 (April 20, 1922). 



speedier fulfillment of their obligations, and would work out to the 
advantage of the victors. 

732. Animated by these sentiments of equal love toward all 
nations, which is inspired by the charge laid upon Us by the Divine 
Redeemer, We extend to all the faithful the invitation which you, 
Venerable Brother, have addressed to your people, and We exhort 
them to join their prayers with Ours for the success of the confer- 
ence. May the blessing of Our Lord be upon it, and may the result 
of its decisions, which We are sure will be taken in a sentiment 
of good-will, bring to suffering mankind that concord which, whilst 
bringing people together, may set them again, after eight years of 
sorrow and ruin, on the shining path of work, progress and civil- 
ization, and so realize the ideal of the Church. . . . 


Peace consists not merely in the cessation of hostilities, 
but chiefly in the reconciliation of men. 

April 29, 1922 

733. The strong desire We feel to see established in the world 
the reign of true peace, which consists not merely in the cessation 
of hostilities, but chiefly in the reconciliation of men, makes Us 
follow with the liveliest interest and even with great anxiety, the 
course of the Conference at Genoa for the blessing of God on which 
We have already invited the faithful to offer fervent prayers. 

734. We cannot conceal from Your Eminence the keen satis- 
faction with which We learned that, thanks to the good-will of all, 
the great obstacles which from the beginning seemed to preclude 
the possibility of any accord had been overcome. No one can doubt 
that the happy issue of so great a Congress, including as it does 
representatives of nearly every civilized nation, will mark an his- 
toric date for Christian civilization, especially in Europe. The 
peoples which have suffered so much in "the past conflict and its 
recent unhappy consequences justly desire that the work of the 
Conference may 'result in the removal, as far as is possible, of the 

2 Translation from The Tablet, v. 139, p. 582 (May 6, 1922). Original Italian, A.A.S., 
v. 14, pp. 265-267 (May 8, 1922). 


[735-739] PIUS xi 

danger of fresh wars, and, as soon as may be, in the economic 
restoration of Europe. With the complete realization of such noble 
aims, which are indeed interdependent, or with the preparation 
of the foundations for their future fulfillment, the Genoa Confer- 
ence will have deserved well of mankind by preparing almost a 
new era of peace and progress, in which one will be able to say 
in the words of the Bible: Justitia et pax osculatce sunt B that charity 
must not be separated from justice. 

735. Such a return to the normal state of human society in its 
essential elements, according to the rules of right reason which is 
certainly a divine ordinance, will be of the utmost advantage for 
all, victors and vanquished, but particularly for the poor suffering 
peoples in Eastern Europe, who, already desolated by war, internal 
strife and religious persecution, are now decimated by famine and 
disease, though they possess so many sources of wealth that could 
be precious elements in social restoration. 

736. To reach these people, though separated from Our Com- 
munion by a misfortune of ancient times, may Our words, with 
those of Our lamented Predecessors, be a message of pity and com- 
fort, and at the same time of the ardent prayer of Our fatherly 
heart that they may enjoy with Us the same gifts of unity and 
peace in the common participation in the Holy Mysteries. 

737. If by a stroke of misfortune the efforts for sincere pacifi- 
cation and lasting accord at this Conference should come to nought, 
who can think without trembling how greatly would be aggravated 
the conditions already so miserable and menacing of Europe, with 
the prospect of still greater sufferings and the danger of a con- 
flagration which would bring down the whole fabric of Christian 
civilization, since, as St. Thomas says (De Regimine Principum, 
L 10 ) and as experience confirms: desperatio audacter ad qualibet 
attentanda pr&cipitat. 

738. Therefore, in the name of the universal mission of charity 
entrusted to Us by the Divine Redeemer, We again implore all 
peoples to unite in a Christian spirit and mutual good-will, in the 
effort to promote the common good which will give to each nation 
so acting great and lasting benefits. 

739. But as this cannot be fully achieved without the grace of 
that God Who is, and ought to be, recognized as the prime Author 

8 Psalms, LXXXIV, n. 



and supreme Sustainer of society Rex re gum et Dominus Domi- 
nantium 4 Wz exhort all Christian people to have recourse to Him, 
on behalf of civilized society, in the beautiful prayer which in the 
venerable liturgy of Holy Week We have offered up for the 
Church: "That our God and Lord would be pleased to give it 
peace, maintain it in union and preserve it over the earth. . . . 
And grant us who live in peace and tranquillity grace to glorify 
God, the Father Almighty." So, verily, may be attained that public 
prosperity which is the natural aim of all civilized society, as well 
as of the Church which guides men toward their supernatural end: 
"That we may so pass through the good things of time that we 
may not lose those that are eternal." 

740. In bringing these feelings and wishes to your knowledge, 
in order that Our diplomatic representatives may be Our inter- 
preters with their respective Governments and peoples, We impart 
to Your Eminence with all Our heart Our Apostolic Blessing. 


The Holy Sec requests that religious rights be safe- 
guarded in any agreement with Russia, 

May 15, 1922 

741. In the letter which the Holy Father sent on April 29 to 
the Cardinal Secretary of State, His Eminence was charged to com- 
municate to the Powers with which the Holy See has diplomatic 
relations His Holiness 1 wishes for the success of the Genoa Confer- 
ence, particularly as regards the Russian nation. Inasmuch as con- 
ditions do not permit the Holy See approaching each one of the 
Chancelleries through the ordinary channel of the Pontifical repre- 
sentatives to the different nations, it uses the opportunity of the 
presence at Genoa of the delegations of the States with which it 
has diplomatic relations to deliver to them directly the text of that 
Pontifical document, and to call their attention, and through them 

* I Timothy, VI, 15. 

B Translation from The Tablet, v. 139, pp. 641-642 (May 20, -1922). Original French, 
Documentation Cathotique, v. 7, c. 1211 (May 20, 1922). 


[74 2 ] PIUS xi 

the attention of the Conference, to certain points of special impor- 
tance. At the historic moment at which there is question of the 
readmission of Russia in the association of the civil nations, the 
Holy See desires that the religious interests, which are the basis 
of all true -civilization, shall be safeguarded in Russia. In conse- 
quence, the Holy See asks that in the agreement to be established 
between the Powers represented at Genoa there shall be inserted 
in some manner, but in a very explicit manner, the three following 
clauses: (i) Full liberty of conscience for all citizens, Russian or 
foreign, is guaranteed in Russia; (2) private and public exercise of 
religion and worship is also guaranteed (this clause is in agreement 
with the declarations made at Genoa by the Russian delegate, M. 
Tchitcherin) ; (3) religious immovable property which belonged or 
still belongs to any religious confession whatsoever shall be restored 
to it and respected. 


ROME. 6 

Peace is the first and indispensable condition of all 
social reconstruction. 

May 24, 1922 

742 And with this Eucharistic Congress, the first of 

a new series, must begin, and by the grace of God, by the infinite 
goodness and mercy of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, will begin 
that full pacification which is the first and indispensable condition 
of all social reconstruction. That is to say, that there must begin 
a real and true regeneration which consists in the return of society 
to Jesus Christ and the return of Jesus Christ in human society; 
the regeneration which holds in itself the truest, soundest substance 
of all reconstruction and reconstitution. The pride and vainglory of 
the human mind have driven out Jesus Christ, exiled Him, con- 
fined Him in His solitary tabernacles; unbridled lust for worldly 
goods has made the minds of men mutually bitter, barbarous and 
hostile. Together with the banishment of the Lord peace has left 

6 Translation from The Tablet, v. 139, pp. 706-707 (June 3, 1922). Original French, 
Actes de Pie XI, v, i, pp. 65-66. 


TRES O P P OR T U N E M E N T C74 2 ] 

humanity. The Sacrament of the Eucharist, solemn recognition, 
solemn adoration of this the most holy among all holy Sacraments, 
most divine among divine things, that is the remedy. Here it is, 
where the human mind bows itself before the majesty of God, 
offering Him the homage of the faith which believes, sees not but 
adores and acknowledges; it is in this Sacrament that minds become 
softened and regain gentleness; it is in this Sacrament that all are 
seated at the same Table and feel themselves truly brothers, great 
and small, masters and servants, rulers and ruled. Peace, the peace 
that all are seeking because it has not yet returned to spread its 
white wings over troubled humanity, the peace that the world can- 
not give because it can offer nothing more than goods unworthy 
of the human heart and insufficient for its happiness, this peace 
Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament alone can give. You have 
asked Him and He comes to you; breaking the silence of the 
tabernacle, once more He is seen amongst men and peace smiles on 
the world. Not the image but the living reality of that peace, which 
the world cannot give but neither can it take away. You are the 
true peace, you who have come from all parts of the world, from 
all the countries harried only yesterday by awful war, come here, 
forgetting the past, remembering only the bonds of unity joining 
you in the faith and charity of Jesus Christ, Our dear daughters, 
the International Union of Catholic Women, have just given an 
eloquent example of this great thing. Always first, the Christian 
womenat the Sepulchre, at the Cross you, Our dear children, 
have followed them here, in a wonderfully impressive assembly, 
a magnificently solemn representation of all those who are follow- 
ing you in spirit, a superb flight of souls coming to rest here, in 
this land sanctified by the blood of martyrs, in this Rome through 
which Christ is Roman, Rome which, for that very reason, is the 
country of all Christian souls wherever they may be, from what- 
ever corner of the world their prayers may rise. Welcome, then, 
in your Father's house, the house of peace, the peace we all desire, 
of which all feel with more or less urgency the need: all, in the 
complete light of the Faith, in the impulse which seeks salvation 
where alone it can be found, all in the one same recognition of the 
need that human society should turn to God, that God should turn 
Himself to human society 


743-744] PIUS xi 


May Christ in the Holy Eucharist bring peace to 
human society! 

May 29, 1922 

743 May it please the Lord, the Prince of Peace, to 

Extend His Kingdom over every branch of human society, that the 
minds of all men may be brought together in the brotherhood of 
faith and love, and over the land but lately drowned in blood and 
tears the dawn of peace may rise, from the mystic ark of the holy 
tabernacles the dove with the olive branch may wend its flight 
through the skies. . . . 


Above all else the Holy Father has social peace at 

July 10, 1922 

744 As a matter of fact, by choosing as your subject 

for this year, u The State and Economic Life," you intend to ad- 
vance still further your studies on the economic restoration of 
society. The Holy See cannot but pray for the happy realization 
of this plan; in reality, nothing that is able to re-establish or 
strengthen good order in human relations can be a matter of in- 
difference to the Holy Father. He has at heart, above all else, social 
peace within nations as well as international peace among them. 
He is constantly concerned with problems relative to the economic 
improvement of the working classes; he is always ready to aid in 
bringing about general prosperity which will spread reasonable well- 
being among the down-trodden, and which, moreover, will be very 
useful for the perfection of the religious and moral life 

7 Translation from The Tablet, v. 139, pp. 745-746 (June 10, 1922). Original Italian, 

A.A.S., v. 14, p. 343 (June 8, 1922). 

8 Original French, Documentation Catholique, v. 8, c. 281 (August 19, 1922), 


I DISORDINI [745-748] 


The Pope exhorts the Bishops of Italy to wor^ for the 
pacification of their country. 

August 6, 1922 

745. The disorders which saddened Italy in the past weeks 
brought to all who love their country with sincere affection a deep 
sorrow together with a distressing fear for the future. While the 
sad condition of Italy most urgently demands the unanimous meet- 
ing together of all classes of citizens, . . . factional passions drag 
them into bloody conflict. 

746. The sublime mission of peace and of love which the 
Divine Redeemer wishes to be entrusted to Us in times so sad, and 
with it also the congenital feeling of love of country, ennobled, and 
not extinguished, by the universality of Our pastoral care, do not 
permit Us to remain silent any longer in the face of such a painful 

747. The cruel tempest which has swept over the earth has left 
in Italy also, in fact, more in Italy than elsewhere, very sad germs 
of hatred and violence, while in many hearts it has lulled to sleep 
the natural horror of shedding blood. Hence, we see factions mul- 
tiply, their adherents becoming more bitter every day, running often 
now in one direction, now in another, to perpetrate bloody crimes 
with an endless train of reprisals which overturn the whole struc- 
ture of social life. Out of this come immense losses, at home as 

well as abroad consequences of this fratricidal war, which 

is most contrary to the elementary principles of Christian society, 
no less than to the genuine spirit of divine charity, which is the 
essence of Catholicism. 

748. There can be no remedy for all these evils save by return- 
ing to God and to the complete observance of His laws, the con- 
tempt of which has been the cause of so much misfortune. . . . 
Let men return, therefore, to Christ, Who desired to make them all 
brothers at the price of His own Blood. In turning to Him, men 
will also love one another, because in the love of God and of one's 
neighbor is contained the whole law of the Gospel. And with the 
return of all to Christ, the social relations between rulers and sub- 
jects, between peoples and governments will be regulated, relations 
9 Original Italian, A.A.S., v. 14, Pp. 481-484 (August 31, 1922). 

[749-75 1 ! PIUS xi 

on which every well-ordered society is based, and which are 
wonderfully directed even in their details by the law of the 
Gospel . . . 

749. Now, as Leo XIII, in his Encyclical Immortak Dei of 
November i, 1885, and in his discourse to the Eminent Cardinals 
of April ii, 1899, teaches with such eloquence and efficacy, the 
mission of the Church is precisely to reconcile men with God, and 
thus restore among them Christian peace and brotherhood and, 
at the same time, social prosperity. . . . 

750. We are not ignorant, Venerable Brethren, of your fidelity 
to this divine mission of the Church; continue, with ever-increasing 
zeal, especially in these fearful days, your work as peace-makers, 
which is indeed not the least part of that ministerium reconcilia* 
tionis which the Lord has given us, in keeping with the words of 
the Apostle: But all things are of God, Who hath reconciled us to 
Himself by Christ; and hath given to us the ministry of reconcilia- 
tion . 10 Continue it in your instruction and in your enlightened 
direction of souls; continue it with all the means proper to your 
exalted pastoral office and, above all else, with public and private 
prayer, already so highly recommended by Our Predecessor, who 
wished to give an example of it himself and proposed the touching 
formula for it. ... 


Christian charity extends to all men without distinction 
of race. 

September 17, 1922 

751 Indeed, We are confident that the clergy and 

faithful of Great Britain will derive from the Conference an in- 
crease of faith, and will imbibe that spirit of brotherly love which 
should inspire the citizens of the nation whose Empire extends so 
widely over land and sea. We speak of that brotherly love whereby 
we are all brethren in Christ Jesus, Whose power is such that when 

10 n Corinthians, V, 18. 

11 Translation from The Tablet, v. 140, p. 469 (October 7, 1922). Original Latin, 

A.A.S., v. 14, pp. 547-548 (October 31, 1922). 


ORA SONO POCHI MESI [75 2 "754] 

allowed to take deep root in the heart, all distinctions of nationality 
are set aside; and in the Catholic missionary, to whatever nation or 
congregation he belongs, a Catholic recognizes a brave and gener- 
ous man who is duly exercising the function of the Apostolate to 
the heathen at the cost of the utmost toil and often of life itself. 
Moreover, imbued with this spirit, Catholics will contribute gener- 
ously to the support of the Sacred Missions without distinction, 
just as Christian charity extends to all men whatsoever without 
distinction of race from which they have sprung 


The Italian people must strive to preserve peace in 
their own country. 

October 28, 1922 

752. Only a few months ago, confronted by the evils and the 
fratricidal struggles which saddened Our beloved country, We sent 
you an earnest appeal, exhorting you to devote your pastoral care 
to the task of pacifying the souls and the hearts of men. We fully 
appreciate the eagerness with which you answered Our paternal 
invitation, but, unfortunately, the tranquillity so greatly to be de- 
sired has not yet returned among the beloved people of Italy, and 
Our soul is again deeply grieved in beholding the ever-growing 
calamities that are menacing their material, moral and religious 
well-being, and all the longer delaying the healing of their deep 
wounds, the painful aftermath of the long years of war. 

753. Faithful, however, to that mission of charity entrusted to 
Us by the Divine Saviour, We are urgently prompted to address a 
word of charity and peace to all Italian citizens. -In the name of 
that brotherhood that binds them all in the love of this land so 
blessed by God, above all in the name of 'that nobler, because super- 
natural, brotherhood that in the Religion of Our Lord Jesus Christ 
binds the sons of Italy into one family, We cry to all in the words 
of St. Stephen: Viri, jratres estis; ut quid nocetis alterutrum? Men, 
you are brethren; why do you injure each other? 13 

754. And as for you, Venerable Brethren, let your ze^l be re- 

12 Original Italian, A.A.S., v. 14, PP- 537~538 (October 31, 1922). 

13 Acts, VII, 26. 


[755-756] PIUS xi 

doubled for this holy enterprise of pacification which you have so 
earnestly undertaken. Urge all entrusted to your care to moderate 
their own desires and, if necessary, to sacrifice them for the sake of 
the common good, taking inspiration from the Christian principles 
of order, and from those sentiments of charity, meekness and for- 
giveness which the Divine Teacher has given to His faithful as 
supreme law. 

755. Let them sincerely return to Jesus Christ qui est pax nostra 
Who is our peace 1 * because only in loving Him will they love 
one another and, in brotherly co-operation, they will contribute to 
the general prosperity from which they all will benefit. May the 
Apostolic Blessing which We so wholeheartedly bestow upon you, 
Venerable Brothers, your clergy and all the faithful entrusted to 
your care be a token and an auspicious omen of this reconciliation 
so greatly to be desired. 


The Holy See requests that peace be restored in the 

December 5, 1922 

756. Very distressing news daily reaches the Holy See from 
Constantinople. Christians of Europe are panic-stricken. They flee, 
Many are not in a position to take flight. Those who want to leave 
the city must submit a written promise never to return. Their prop- 
erty has been confiscated. All property of Europeans and of reli- 
gious congregations is in extreme peril. There is reason to fear 
the arrival of irregular troops which would have disastrous conse- 
quences. The Armenians, who have no place of refuge, are exposed 
to even greater dangers than the others and are literally victims of 
terror* In bringing these conditions to the attention of the Powers 
represented at Lausanne to restore peace in the Orient, the Holy See 
urgently entreats, in the name of humanity, that immediate and 
effective steps be taken on behalf of the safety of the cruelly perse- 
cuted population. 

s, II, 14. 
15 Original German, Lama, Papst und Kurit, p. 508. 





Charity must temper justice in international agree- 

December 11, 1922 

757 And just as We have striven to provide material 

help for Our children most in need, so We have made every effort 
to gain for all the blessings of peace, the peace for which Our Pred- 
ecessor longed so ardently but which has not yet come to console 
miserable humanity with its health-giving light. While the repre- 
sentatives of the Powers were meeting at Genoa, We urged them 
to consider the terrible condition of the peoples and the best reme- 
dies to apply to all the disasters. At the same time We invited all 
the faithful to unite their prayers with Ours to implore of Jesus, 
Prince of Peace, a successful result of the Conference. And as it 
seems that 'there is soon to be another meeting of the delegates of 
the various Powers at Brussels, where the economic situation of 
Europe, which has become much worse in these last few months, is 
to be again considered, We repeat that urgent exhortation. In very 
truth those meetings, which follow one another almost uninterrupt- 
edly, can be of hardly any use at all, become indeed bitter and 
dangerous delusions, until the Governments decide once for all to 
temper reasons of justice with those of charity, which in the long 
run will be to the advantage of conquerors and conquered alike. 
We have all trust, Venerable Brethren, that this mission of charity 
and peace of the Church will do much for the pacification and 
restoration of society, and Our keen desire is that Our work may be 
as that which Our two immediate Predecessors consecrated to the 
good of the Catholic world: the one proposing to restore all things 
in Christ, the other never ceasing to bring Christian peace into the 
hearts of men. These two programs of the Supreme Pontificate We 
desire to unite, so that Our motto may be "The Peace of Christ in 
the Reign of Christ" Ptf* Christi in Regno Christi. But of this 
We shall be able to speak better in the Encyclical Letter which We 
hope to issue, as an offering for Christmas and New Year, to all the 
bishops of die Catholic world. 

16 Translation from The Tablet, v. 140, p. 854 (December 23, 1922). 'Original Latin, 
A.A.S., v. 14, pp. 612-613 (December 15, 1922). 

[758-759] PIUS xi 


The ills of the world are accurately diagnosed and 
remedies for their cure are proposed. 

December 23, 1922 

758 Many reasons have prevented Us up to this time 

from fulfilling Our wish to write. . . . We were called upon to 
experience personally and for the first time what St. Paul has called 
my daily instance, the solicitude for all the churches^ . . . Then 
there were to be considered international meetings and treaties 
which deeply influenced the future of whole peoples and of nations. 
Faithful to the ministry of peace and reconciliation which has been 
confided to Our care by God, We strove to make known far and 
wide the law of justice, tempered always by charity, and to obtain 
merited consideration for those values and interests which, because 
they are spiritual, are nonetheless grave and important. As a 
matter of fact, they are much more serious and important than any 
merely material thing whatsoever. We were occupied, too, with the 
almost unbelievable sufferings of those peoples, living in districts 
far remote from Us, who had been stricken with famine and every 
kind of calamity. We hastened to send them all the help which 
Our own straitened circumstances permitted, and did not fail to call 
upon the whole world to assist Us in this task. Finally, there did 
not escape Us those uprisings accompanied by acts of violence which 
had broken out in the very midst of Our own beloved people, here 
where We were born, here where the Hand of Divine Providence 
has set down the Chair of St. Peter. For a time these troubles 
seemed to threaten the very future of Our country, nor could We 
rest easy until We had done everything within Our power to quiet 
such serious disorders 

759. These different events, some sad and some joyful, the his- 
tory of which We wish to record for the edification of posterity, 
spoke most eloquently to Us, making more and more clear to Our 
mind those objectives which seem to claim the foremost place in 
Our Apostolic Ministry and of which it behooves Us to speak now 

17 Translation from Ryan, The Encyclicals of Pitts XI, pp. 4-46. Original Latin, A.A.S., 

v. 14, pp. 674-700 (December 27, 1922). 
18 II Corinthians, XI, 28. 


UBI ARCANO DEI [760-763] 

in as solemn a manner as possible in this, Our very first message 
to you. 

760. One thing is certain to-day. Since the close of the Great 
War individuals, the different classes of society, the nations of the 
earth have not as yet found true peace. They do not enjoy, there- 
fore, that active and fruitful tranquillity which is the aspiration 
and the need of mankind. This is a sad truth which forces itself 
upon us from every side. For anyone who, as We do, desires pro- 
foundly to study and successfully to apply the means necessary to 
overcome such evils, it is all-important that he recognize both the 
fact and the gravity of this state of affairs and attempt beforehand 
to discover its causes. This duty is imposed up'on Us in command- 
ing fashion by the very consciousness which We have of Our Apos- 
tolic Office. We cannot but resolve to fulfill that which is so clearly 
Our duty. This We shall do now by this Our first Encyclical, and 
afterward with all solicitude in the course of Our Sacred Ministry. 

761. Since the selfsame sad conditions continue to exist in the 
world to-day which were the object of constant and almost heart- 
breaking preoccupation on the part of Our respected Predecessor, 
Benedict XV, during the whole period of his Pontificate, naturally 
We have come to make his thoughts and his solutions of these 
problems Our own. May they become, too, the thoughts and ideals 
of everyone, as they are Our thoughts, and if this should happen 
we would Certainly see, with the help of God and the co-operation 
of all men of good will, the most wonderful effects come to pass 
by a true and lasting reconciliation of men one with another. 

762. The inspired words of the Prophets seem to have been 
written expressly for our own times: We looked for peace and no 
good came: for a time of healing, and behold fear f lQ for the time of 
healing, and behold trouble?* We looked for light, and behold 
darkness . . . we have looked for judgment, and there is none: for 
salvation, and it is jar from us. 21 

763. The belligerents of yesterday have laid down their arms 
but on the heels of this act we encounter new horrors and new 
threats of war in the Near East. The conditions in many sections 
of these devastated regions have been greatly aggravated by famine, 

19 Jeremias, VIII, 15. 
^Jeremias^XlV, 19. 
Vw, IIX, 9, n. 


[764-765] PIUS xi 

epidemics and the laying waste of the land, all of which have not 
failed to take their toll of victims without number, especially among 
the aged, women and innocent children. In what has been so 
justly called the immense theater of the World War, the old rival- 
ries between nations have not ceased to exert their influence, rival- 
ries at times hidden under the manipulations of politics or 
concealed beneath the fluctuations of finance, but openly appearing 
in the Press, in reviews and magazines of every type, and even 
penetrating into institutions devoted to the cultivation of the arts 
and sciences, spots where otherwise the atmosphere of quiet and 
peace would reign supreme. 

764. Public life is so enveloped, even at the present hour, by the 
dense fog of mutual hatreds and grievances that it is almost im- 
possible for the common people so much as freely to breathe there- 
in. If the defeated nations continue to suffer most terribly, no less 
serious are the evils which afflict their conquerors. Small nations 
complain that they are being oppressed and exploited by great na- 
tions. The great Powers, on their side, contend that they are being 
judged wrongly and circumvented by the smaller. All nations, 
great and small, suffer acutely from the sad effects of the late war. 
Neither can those nations which were neutral contend that they 
have escaped altogether the tremendous sufferings of the war or 
failed to experience its evil results almost equally with the actual 
belligerents. These evil results grow in volume from day to day 
because of the utter impossibility of finding anything like a safe 
remedy to cure the ills of society, and this in spite of all the efforts 
of politicians and statesmen whose work has come to naught if it 
has not unfortunately tended to aggravate the very evils they tried 
to overcome. Conditions have become increasingly worse because 
the fears of the people are being constantly played upon by the 
ever-present menace of new wars, likely to be more frightful and 
destructive than any which have preceded them. Whence it is 
that the nations of today live in a state of armed peace which is 
scarcely better than war itself, a condition which tends to exhaust 
national finances, to waste the flower of youth, to muddy and poison 
the very fountainheads of life, physical, intellectual, religious and 

765. A much more serious and lamentable evil than these 
threats of external aggression is the internal discord which menaces 



the welfare not only of nations but of human society itself. In the 
first place, we must take cognizance of the war between the classes, 
a chronic and mortal disease of present-day society, which like a 
cancer is eating away the vital forces of the social fabric, labor, in- 
dustry, the arts, commerce, agriculture everything, in fact, which 
contributes to public and private welfare and to national prosperity. 
This conflict seems to resist every solution and grows worse because 
those who are never satisfied with the amount of their wealth con- 
tend with those who hold on most tenaciously to the riches which 
they have already acquired, while to both classes there is common 
the desire to rule the other and to assume control of the other's 
possessions. From this class war there result frequent interruptions 
of work, the causes for which most often can be laid to mutual 
provocations. There result, too, revolutions, riots and forcible re- 
pression of one side or other by the government, all of which can- 
not but end in general discontent and in grave damage to the 
common welfare. 

766. To these evils we must add the contests between political 
parties, many of which struggles do not originate in a real differ- 
ence of opinion concerning the public good or in a laudable and 
disinterested search for what would best promote the common 
welfare, but in the desire for power and for the protection of some 
private interest which inevitably result in injury to the citizens as a 
whole. From this course there often arise robberies of what belongs 
rightly to the people, and even conspiracies against and attacks on 
the supreme authority of the State, as well as on its representatives. 
These political struggles also beget threats of popular action and, 
at times, eventuate in open rebellion and other disorders which are 
all the more deplorable and harmful since they come from a public 
to whom it has been given, in our modern democratic States, to 
participate in very large measure in public life and in the affairs of 
government. Now, these different forms of government are not 
of themselves contrary to the principles of the Catholic Faith, 
which can easily be reconciled with any reasonable and just system 
of government. Such governments, however, are the most exposed 
to the danger of being overthrown by one faction or another. 

767. It is most sad to see how this revolutionary spirit has pene- 
trated into that sanctuary of peace and love, the family, the original 
nucleus of human society. In the family these evil seeds of dissen- 


[768-769] PIUS xi 

sion, which were sown long ago, have recently been spread about 
more and more by the fact of the absence of fathers and sons from 
the family fireside during the war and by the greatly increased 
freedom in matters of morality which followed on it as one of its 
effects. Frequently we behold sons alienated from their fathers, 
brothers quarreling with brothers, masters with servants, servants 
with masters. Too often likewise have we seen both the sanctity 
of the marriage tie and the duties to God and to humankind, which 
this tie imposes upon men, forgotten. 

768. Just as the smallest part of the body feels the effect of an 
illness which is ravaging the whole body or one of its vital organs, 
so the evils now besetting society and the family afflict even in- 
dividuals. In particular, We cannot but lament the morbid rest- 
lessness which has spread among people of every age and condition 
in life, the general spirit of insubordination and the refusal to live 
up to one's obligations which has become so widespread as almost 
to appear the customary mode of living. We lament, too, the de- 
struction of purity among women and young girls as is evidenced 
by the increasing immodesty of their dress and conversation and 
by their participation in shameful dances, which sins are made 
the more heinous by the vaunting in the faces of people less fortu- 
nate than themselves their luxurious mode of life. Finally, We 
cannot but grieve over the great increase in the number of what 
might be called social misfits who almost inevitably end by joining 
the ranks of those malcontents who continually agitate against all 
order, be it public or private. 

769. Is it surprising, then, that we should no longer possess 
that security of life in which we can place our trust and that there 
remains only the most terrible uncertainty, and from hour to hour 
added fears for the future? Instead of regular daily work there is 
idleness and unemployment. That blessed tranquillity which is the 
effect of an orderly existence and in which the essence of peace is 
to be found no longer exists, and, in its place, the restless spirit of 
revolt reigns. As a consequence industry suffers, commerce is 
crippled, the cultivation of literature and the arts becomes more and 
more difficult, and, what is worse than all, Christian civilization 
itself is irreparably damaged thereby. In the face of our much 
praised progress, we behold with sorrow society lapsing back slowly 
but surely into a state of barbarism. 



770. We wish to record, in addition to the evils already men- 
tioned, other evils which beset society and which occupy a place of 
prime importance but whose very existence escapes the ordinary 
observer, the sensual man he who, as the Apostle says, does not 
perceive the things that are of the Spirit of God, 22 yet which cannot 
but be judged the greatest and most destructive scourges of the 
social order of today. We refer specifically to those evils which 
transcend the material or natural sphere and lie within the super- 
natural and religious order properly so-called; in other words, those 
evils which affect the spiritual life of souls. These evils are all the 
more to be deplored since they injure 'souls whose value is infinitely 
greater than that of any merely material object. 

771. Over and above the laxity in the performance of Christian 
duties which is so widespread, We cannot but sorrow with you, 
Venerable Brothers, over the fact that very many churches, which 
during the war had been turned to profane uses, have not yet been 
restored to their original purpose as temples of prayer and of divine 
worship; moreover, that many seminaries whose existence is vital 
for the preparation and formation of worthy leaders and teachers 
of the religious life have not yet been reopened; that the ranks of 
the clergy in almost every country have been decimated, either be- 
cause so many priests have died on the battlefield in the exercise 
of their Sacred Ministry or have been lost to the Church because 
they proved faithless to their holy vocation, due to the unfavorable 
conditions under which they were compelled to live for so long; 
and, finally, that in many places even the preaching of the Word of 
God, so necessary and so fruitful for the edifying of the body of 
Christ* 1 * has been silenced. 

772. The evil results of the Great War, as they affect the spirit- 
ual life, have been felt all over the world, even in out-of-the-way 
and lonely sections of far-off continents. Missionaries have been 
forced to abandon the field of their Apostolic labors, and many 
have been unable to return to their work, thus causing interruptions 
to and even abandonment of those glorious conquests of the Faith 
which have done so much to raise the level of civilization, moral, 
material and religious. It is quite true that there have been some 
worth-while compensations for these great spiritual misfortunes. 

22 1 Corinthians, II, 14. 
23 Ephesians, IV, 12. 


[773-7753 PIUS xi 

Among these compensations is one which stands out in bold relief 
and gives the lie to many ancient calumnies, namely, that a pure 
love of country and a generous devotion to duty burn brightly in 
the souls of those consecrated to God, and that through their Sacred 
Ministry the consolations of religion were brought to thousands 
dying on the fields of battle wet with human blood. Thus, many, 
in spite of their prejudices, were led to honor again the priesthood 
and the Church by reason of the wonderful examples of sacrifice 
of self, with which they had become acquainted. For these happy 
results we are indebted solely to the infinite goodness and wisdom 
of God, Who draws good from evil. 

773. Our letter so far has been devoted to a recital of the evils 
which afflict present-day society. We must now search out, with 
all possible care, the causes of these disorders, some of which have 
already been referred to. At this point, Venerable Brothers, there 
seems to come to Us the voice of the Divine Consoler and Physi- 
cian Who, speaking of these human infirmities, says: All these evil 
things come from within? 4 " 

774. Peace indeed was signed in solemn conclave between the 
belligerents of the late war. This peace, however, was only written 
into treaties. It was not received into the hearts of men, who still 
cherish the desire to fight one another and to continue to menace 
in a most serious manner the quiet and stability of civil society. 
Unfortunately, the law of violence held sway so long that it has 
weakened and almost obliterated all traces of those natural feelings 
of love and mercy which the law of Christian charity has done so 
much to encourage. Nor has this illusory peace, written only on 
paper, served as yet to reawaken similar noble sentiments in the 
souls of men. On the contrary, there has been born a spirit of 
violence and of hatred which, because it has been indulged in for 
so long, has become almost second nature in many men. There 
has followed the blind rule of the inferior parts of the soul over 
the superior, that rule of the lower elements fighting against the 
law of the mind, which St. Paul grieved over. 25 

775. Men today do not act as Christians, as brothers, but as 
strangers, and even enemies. The sense of man's personal dignity 
and of the value of human life has been lost in the brutal domina- 


/t VH, 23. 
25 Romany VII, 23. 

UBI ARCANO DEI [77^778] 

tion begotten of might and mere superiority in numbers. Many 
are intent on exploiting their neighbors solely for the purpose of 
enjoying more fully and on a larger scale the goods of this world. 
But they err grievously who have turned to the acquisition of 
material and temporal possessions and are forgetful of eternal and 
spiritual things, to the possession of which Jesus, Our Redeemer, 
by means of the Church, His living interpreter, calls mankind. 

776. It is in the very nature of material objects that an in- 
ordinate desire for them becomes the root of every evil, of every 
discord, and, in particular, of a lowering of the moral sense. On 
the one hand, things which are naturally base and vile can never 
give rise to noble aspirations in the human heart which was cre- 
ated by and for God alone and is restless until it finds repose in 
Him. On the other hand, material goods (and in this they differ 
greatly from those of the spirit which the more of them we possess 
the more remain to be acquired) the more they are divided among 
men the less each one has and, by consequence, what one man has 
another cannot possibly possess unless it be forcibly taken away 
from the first. Such being the case, worldly possessions can never 
satisfy all in equal manner nor give rise to a spirit of universal 
contentment, but must become perforce a source of division among 
men and of vexation of spirit, as even the Wise Man, Solomon, ex- 
perienced: Vanity of vanities, and vexation of spirit?* 

777. The same effects which result from these evils among in- 
dividuals may likewise be expected among nations. From whence 
are wars and contentions among you? asks the Apostle St. James. 
Are they not hence, from your concupiscences, which war in your 
members?'* 1 The inordinate desire for pleasure, concupiscence of 
the flesh, sows the fatal seeds of division not only among families 
but likewise among States; the inordinate desire for possessions, 
concupiscence of the eyes, inevitably turns into class warfare and 
into social egotism; the inordinate desire to rule or to domineer 
over others, pride of life, soon becomes mere party or factional 
rivalries, manifesting itself in constant displays of conflicting ambi- 
tions and ending in open rebellion, in the crime of Use majeste, and 
even in national parricide. 

778. These unsuppressed desires, this inordinate love of the 

2S Ecclesiastes, I, 2, 14. 


PIUS xi 

things of the world, are precisely the source of all international 
misunderstandings and rivalries, despite the fact that oftentimes 
men dare to maintain that acts prompted by such motives are ex- 
cusable and even justifiable because, forsooth, they were performed 
for reasons of State or of the public good, or out of love for country. 
Patriotism the stimulus of so many virtues and of so many noble 
acts of heroism when kept within the bounds of the law of Christ 
becomes merely an occasion, an added incentive to grave injustice 
when true love of country is debased to the condition of an extreme 
nationalism, when we forget that all men are our brothers and 
members of the same great human family, that other nations have 
an equal right with us both to life and to prosperity, that it is 
never lawful nor even wise, to dissociate morality from the affairs 
of practical life, that, in the last analysis, it is justice which exalteth 
a nation: but sin maJ^eth nations miserable : 28 

779. Perhaps the advantages to one's family, city or nation 
obtained in some such way as this may well appear to be a wonder- 
ful and great victory (this thought has been already expressed by 
St. Augustine), but in the end it turns out to be a very shallow 
thing, something rather to inspire us with the most fearful appre- 
hensions of approaching ruin. It is a happiness which appears beau- 
tiful but is brittle as glass. We must ever be on guard lest with 
horror we see it broken into a thousand pieces at the first touch?* 

780. There is, over and above the absence of peace and the 
evils attendant on this absence, another deeper and more profound 
cause for present-day conditions. This cause was even beginning to 
show its head before the war and the terrible calamities consequent 
on that cataclysm should have proven a remedy for them if man- 
kind had only taken the trouble to understand the real meaning 
of those terrible events. In the Holy Scriptures we read: They that 
have forsaken the Lord shall be consumed No less well-known 
are the words of the Divine Teacher, Jesus Christ, Who said: With- 
out Me you can do nothing* 1 and again, He that gathereth not with 
Me, scatteretk? 2 

781. These words of the Holy Bible have been fulfilled and are 

28 Proverbs, XIV , 34. 

29 St. Augustine, De Civitate Dei, bk. IV. ch. 3. 


, XV, 5. 
82 Lu\e, XT, 23. 

UBI ARCANO DEI [782-783] 

now at this very moment being fulfilled before our very eyes. Be- 
cause men have forsaken God and Jesus Christ, they have sunk to 
the depths of evil. They waste their energies and consume their 
time and efforts in vain sterile attempts to find a remedy for these 
ills, but without even being successful in saving what little remains 
from the existing ruins. It was a quite general desire that both our 
laws and our governments should exist without recognizing God or 
Jesus Christ, on the theory that all authority comes from men, not 
from God. Because of such an assumption, these theorists fell very 
short of being able to bestow upon law not only those sanctions 
which it must possess but also that secure basis for the supreme 
criterion of justice which even a pagan philosopher like Cicero saw 
clearly could not be derived except from the divine law. Authority 
itself lost its hold upon mankind, for it had lost that sound and un- 
questionable justification for its right to command on the one hand 
and to be obeyed on the other. Society, quite logically and in- 
evitably, was shaken to its very depths and even threatened with 
destruction, since there was left to it no longer a stable foundation, 
everything having been reduced to a series of conflicts, to the dom- 
ination of the majority, or to the supremacy of special interests. 

782. Again, legislation was passed which did not recognize that 
either God or Jesus Christ had any rights over marriage an errone- 
ous view which debased matrimony to the level of a mere civil 
contract, despite the fact that Jesus Himself had called it a great 
Sacrament and had made it the holy and sanctifying symbol of 
that indissoluble union which binds Him to His Church. The 
high ideals and pure sentiments with which the Church has always 
surrounded the idea of the family, the germ of all social life, these 
were lowered, were unappreciated, or became confused in the minds 
of many. As a consequence, the correct ideals of family govern- 
ment, and with them those of family peace, were destroyed; the 
stability and unity of the family itself were menaced and under- 
mined, and, worst of all, the very sanctuary of the home was more 
and more frequently profaned by acts of sinful lust and soul-de- 
stroying egotism all of which could not but result in poisoning and 
drying up the very sources of domestic and social life. 

783. Added to all this, God and Jesus Christ, as well as His 
doctrines, were banished from the school. As a sad but inevitable 

33 Ephcsians, V, 32. 


[784-786] PIUS xi 

consequence, the school became not only secular and non-religious 
but openly atheistical and anti-religious. In such circumstances it 
was easy to persuade poor ignorant children that neither God nor 
religion are o any importance as far as their daily lives are con- 
cerned. God's name, moreover, was scarcely ever mentioned in such 
schools unless it were perchance to blaspheme Him or to ridicule 
His Church. Thus, the school forcibly deprived of the right to 
teach anything about God or His law could not but fail in its ef- 
forts really to educate, that is, to lead children to the practice of 
virtue, for the school lacked the fundamental principles which un- 
derlie the possession of a knowledge of God and the means necessary 
to strengthen the will in its efforts toward good and in its avoidance 
of sin. Gone, too, was all possibility of ever laying a solid ground- 
work for peace, order and prosperity, either in the family or in 
social relations. Thus the principles based on the spiritualistic phi- 
losophy of Christianity having been obscured or destroyed in the 
minds of many, a triumphant materialism served to prepare man- 
kind for the propaganda of anarchy and of social hatred which was 
let loose on such a great scale. 

784. Is it to be wondered at, then, that with the widespread 
refusal to accept the principles of true Christian wisdom, the seeds 
of discord sown everywhere should find a kindly soil in which to 
grow and should come to fruit in that most tremendous struggle, the 
Great War, which unfortunately did not serve to lessen but in- 
creased, by its acts of violence and of bloodshed, the international 
and social animosities which already existed? 

785. Up to this We have analyzed briefly the causes of the ills 
which afflict present-day society, the recital of which, however, 
Venerable Brothers, should not cause us to lose hope of finding 
their appropriate remedy, since the evils themselves seem to suggest 
a way out of these difficulties. 

786. First, and most important of all, for mankind is the need 
of spiritual peace. We do not need a peace that will consist merely 
in acts of external or formal courtesy, but a peace which will pene- 
trate the souls of men and which will unite, heal and reopen their 
hearts to that mutual affection which is born of brotherly love. The 
Peace of Christ is the only peace answering this description : Let the 
Peace of Christ rejoice in your hearts? 4 " Nor is there any other peace 

34 Colosstans, HI, 15. 


UBI ARCANO DEI [787-788] 

possible than that which Christ gave to His disciples 35 for since He 
is God, He beholdeth the heart** and in our hearts His kingdom is 
set up. Again, Jesus Christ is perfectly justified when He calls this 
peace of soul His own, for He was the first Who said to men, All 
you are brethren? 1 He gave likewise to us, sealing it with His own 
life's Blood, the law of brotherly love, of mutual forbearance This 
is My commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved 
you. 38 Bear ye one another's burdens; and so you shall fulfill the 
law of Christ?* 

787. From this it follows, as an immediate consequence, that 
the Peace of Christ can only be a peace of justice according to the 
words of the prophet, the wor\ of justice shall be peace?* for He is 
God Who judge st justice^ But peace does not consist merely in a 
hard, inflexible justice. It must be made acceptable and easy by 
being compounded almost equally of charity and a sincere desire 
for reconciliation. Such peace was acquired for us and the whole 
world by Jesus Christ, a peace which the Apostle, in a most ex- 
pressive manner, incarnates in the very Person of Christ Himself 
when he addresses Him, He is our Peace, for it was He Who satis- 
fied completely divine justice by His death on the Cross, destroying 
thus in His own flesh all enmities toward others and making peace 
and reconciliation with God possible for mankind. 42 Therefore, the 
Apostle beholds in the work of Redemption, which is a work of 
justice at one and the same time, a divine work of reconciliation 
and of love. God indeed was in Christ, reconciling the world to 
Himself** God so loved the world, as to give His only begotten 

788. Thomas Aquinas, the Angel of the Schools, also discovered 
in dais fact the very formula and essence of our belief, for he writes 
that a true and lasting peace is more a matter of love than of jus- 
tice. The reason for his statement is that it is the function of justice 
merely to do away with obstacles to peace, as for example, the in- 

35 John, XIV, 27. 
36 1 Kings, XVI, 7. 
87 Matthew, XXIII, 8. 

38 John, XV, 12. 

39 Galatians, VI, 2. 
/ww,XXXII, 17- 

41 Psalms, IX, 5- 

42 Ephesians, H, 14 sq. 
48 II Corinthians, V, 19. 
44 John, III, 1 6. 


[789-79*] PIUS xi 

jury done or the damage caused. Peace itself, however, is an act 

and results only from love. 45 

789. Of this Peace of Christ, which dwells in our hearts and 
is, in effect, the love of God, We can repeat what the Apostle has 
said of the Kingdom of God which also rules by love the King- 
dom of Christ is not meat and drin{. 4Q In other words, the Peace 
of Christ is not nourished on the things of earth, but on those of 
heaven. Nor could it well be otherwise, since it is Jesus Christ 
Who has revealed to the world the existence of spiritual values and 
has obtained for them their due appreciation. He has said, For 
what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer 
the loss of his own soul? 41 He also taught us a divine lesson of 
courage and constancy when He said, Fear ye not them that fall 
the body, and are not able to fall the soul: but rather fear him that 
can destroy both soul and body in helL 4 ^ 

790. This does not mean that the Peace of Christ, which is the 
Dnly true peace, exacts of us that we give up all worldly possessions. 
On the contrary, every earthly good is promised in so many words 
by Christ to those who seek His peace: See\ ye first the fang- 
dom of God, and His justice, and all these things shall be added 
unto you? 

791. This Peace of Christ, however, surpasses all human under- 
standing the Peace* oj God which surpasseth all understanding^ 
and for this very reason dominates our sinful passions and renders 
such evils as division, strife and discord, which result solely from 
the unrestrained desire for earthly possessions, impossible. If the 
desire for worldly possessions were kept within bounds and the 
place of honor in our affections given to the things of the spirit, 
which place undoubtedly they deserve, the Peace of Christ would 
fallow immediately, to which would be joined in a natural and 
happy union, as it were, a higher regard for the value and dignity 
of human life. Human personality, too, would be raised to a higher 
level, for man has been ennobled by the Blood of Christ and made 
kin to God Himself by means of holiness and the bond of brotherly 

45 Summa Theologica, 2a 2ae 3 q.29, 3.3, ad sum. 

6 Romans, XIV, 17. 

i7 Matthew, XVL, 26. 

^Matthew, X, 28. 

ig Matthew, VI, 33; Lufa HI, 31. 

^Philippians, IV, 7. 


UBI ARCANO DEI [79 2 '794] 

love which unites us closely with Christ, by prayer and by the re- 
ception o the Sacraments, means infallibly certain to produce 
this elevation to and participation in the life of God, by the desire 
to attain everlasting possession of the glory and happiness of heaven 
which is held out to all by God as our goal and final reward. 

792. We have already seen and come to the conclusion that 
the principal cause of the confusion, restlessness, and dangers which 
are so prominent a characteristic of false peace, is the weakening of 
the binding force of law and lack of respect for authority, effects 
which logically follow upon denial of the truth that authority comes 
from God, the Creator and Universal Law-giver. 

793. The only remedy for such state of affairs is the Peace of 
Christ since the Peace of Christ is the Peace of God, which could 
not exist if it did not enjoin respect for law, order and the rights of 
authority. In the Holy Scriptures We read: My children, \eep dis- 
cipline in peace. 51 Muck peace have they that love thy law, O 
Lord 52 He that feareth the commandment, shall dwell in peace. 53 
Jesus Christ very expressly states: Render to Ccesar the things that 
are Ccesar's 54 He even recognized that Pilate possessed authority 
from on High 55 as He acknowledged that the scribes and Pharisees, 
who, though unworthy, sat in the chair of Moses, 56 were not with- 
out a like authority. In Joseph and Mary, Jesus respected the nat- 
ural authority of parents and was subject to them for the greater 
part of His life. 57 He also taught, by tie voice of His Apostle, the 
same important doctrine: Let every soul be subject to higher pow- 
ers: for there is no power but from God 58 

794. If we stop to reflect for a moment that these ideals and 
doctrines of Jesus Christ, for example, His teachings on the neces- 
sity and value of the spiritual life, on the dignity and sanctity of 
human life, on the duty of obedience, on the divine basis of human 
government, on the sacramental character of matrimony and by 
consequence the sanctity of family life if we stop to reflect, let Us 
repeat, that these ideals and doctrines of Christ (which are in fact 

51 Ecclesiasticus, XLI, 17, 

52 Psalms, CXVIII, 165. 
58 Proverbs, XIII, 13. 
** Matthew, XXII, 21. 

55 John, XIX, ii. 

56 Matthew, XXIII, 2. 

57 Lu\e, II, 51, 

68 Romans, XIII, i; cf. also I Peter, II, 13, 18. 


[795797] PIUS xi 

but a portion of the treasury of truth which He left to mankind) 
were confided by Him to His Church and to her alone for safe- 
keeping, and that He has promised that His aid will never fail her 
at any time, for she is the infallible teacher of His doctrines in every 
century and before all nations, there is no one who cannot clearly 
see what a singularly important role the Catholic Church is able to 
play, and is even called upon to assume, in providing a remedy for 
the ills which afflict the world today and in leading mankind toward 
a universal peace. 

795. Because the Church is by divine institution the sole de- 
pository and interpreter of the ideals and teachings of Christ, she 
alone possesses in any complete and true sense the power effectively 
to combat that materialistic philosophy which has already done 
and still threatens such tremendous harm to the home and to the 
State. The Church alone can introduce into society and maintain 
therein the prestige of a true, sound spiritualism, the spiritualism 
of Christianity which, both from the point of view of truth and of 
its practical value, is quite superior to any exclusively philosophical 1 
theory. The Church is the teacher and an example of world good- 
will, for she is able to inculcate and develop in mankind the "true 
spirit of brotherly love," 59 and, by raising the public estimation of 
the value and dignity of the individual's soul, help thereby to lift 
us even unto God. 

796. Finally, the Church is able to set both public and private 
life on the road to righteousness by demanding that everything and 
all men become obedient to God "Who beholdeth the heart," to His 
commands, to His laws, to His sanctions. If the teachings of the 
Church could only penetrate, in some such manner as We have 
described, the inner recesses of the consciences of mankind, be they 
rulers or be they subjects, all eventually would be so apprised of 
their personal and civic duties and their mutual responsibilities that 
in a short time Christ would be all, and in all. 

797. Since the Church is the safe and sure guide to conscience, 
for to her safe-keeping alone thei;e has been confided the doctrines 
and the promise of the assistance of Christ, she is able not only to 
bring about at the present hour a peace that is truly the peace of 
Christ, but can, better than any other agency which We know of, 

59 St. Augustine, De Moribus Ecclesiac Cathoticac, I, 30, in Mignc, ?., v. 32, c. 1336. 

60 Colosstans, HI, n. 

34 6 

UBI ARCANO DEI [798-800] 

contribute greatly to the securing of the same peace for the future, 
to the making impossible of war in the future. For the Church 
teaches (she alone has been given, by God the mandate and the 
right to teach with authority) that not only our acts as individuals 
but also as groups and as nations must conform to the eternal law 
of God. In fact, it is much more important that the acts of a na- 
tion follow God's law, since on the nation rests a much greater 
responsibility for the consequences of its acts than on the individual. 

798. When, therefore, governments and nations follow in all 
their activities, whether they be national or international, the dic- 
tates of conscience grounded in the teachings, precepts and example 
of Jesus Christ, and which are binding on each and every individ- 
ual, then only can we have faith in one another's word and trust in 
the peaceful solution of the difficulties and controversies which may 
grow out of differences in point of view or from clash of interests. 
An attempt in this direction has akeady and is now being made; 
its results, however, are almost negligible and, especially so, as far 
as they can be said to affect those major questions which divide 
seriously and serve to arouse nations one against the other. No 
merely human institution of to-day can be as successful in devising a 
set of international laws which will be in harmony with world 
conditions as the Middle Ages were in the possession of that true 
League of Nations, Christianity. It cannot be denied that in the 
Middle Ages this law was often violated; still it always existed as 
an ideal, according to which one might judge the acts of nations, 
and a beacon light calling those who had lost their way back to the 
safe road. 

799. There exists an institution able to safeguard the sanctity 
of the law of nations. This institution is a part of every nation; at 
the same time it is above all nations. She enjoys, too, the highest 
authority, the fullness of the teaching power of the Apostles. Such 
an institution is the Church of Christ. She alone is adapted to do 
this great work, for she is not only divinely commissioned to lead 
mankind, but moreover, because of her very make-up and the con- 
stitution which she possesses, by reason of her age-old traditions and 
her great prestige, which has not been lessened but has been greatly 
increased since the close of the war, cannot but succeed in such a 
venture where others assuredly will fail. 

800. It is apparent from these considerations that true peace, the 


[801-802] PIUS xi 

Peace of Christ, is impossible unless we are willing and ready to 
accept the fundamental principles of Christianity, unless we are 
willing to observe the teachings and obey the law of Christ, both in 
public and private life. If this were done, then society being placed 
at last on a sound foundation, the Church would be able, in the 
exercise of its divinely given ministry and by means of the teaching 
authority which results therefrom, to protect all the rights of God 
over men and nations. 

801. It is possible to sum up all We have said in one word, "the 
Kingdom of Christ." For Jesus Christ reigns over the minds of in- 
dividuals by His teachings, in their hearts by His love, in each one's 
life by the living according to His law and the imitating of His 
example. Jesus reigns over the family when it, modeled after the 
holy ideals of the Sacrament of matrimony instituted by Christ, 
maintains unspotted its true character of sanctuary. In such a 
sanctuary of love, parental authority is fashioned after the authority 
of God, the Father, from Whom, as a matter of fact, it originates 
and after which even it is named. 61 

802. The obedience of the children imitates that of the Divine 
Child of Nazareth, and the whole family life is inspired by the 
sacred ideals of the Holy Family. Finally, Jesus Christ reigns over 
society when men recognize and reverence the sovereignty of Christ, 
when they accept the divine origin and control over all social forces, 
a recognition which is the basis of the right to command for those 
in authority and of the duty to obey for those who are subjects, a 
duty which cannot but ennoble all who live up to its demands. 
Christ reigns where the position in society which He Himself has 
assigned to His Church is recognized, for He bestowed on the 
Church the status and the constitution of a society which, by reason 
of the perfect ends which it is called upon to attain, must be held 
to be supreme in its own sphere; He also made her the depository 
and interpreter of His divine teachings, and, by consequence, the 
teacher and guide of every other society whatsoever, not, of course, 
in the sense that she should abstract in the least from their author- 
ity, each in its own sphere supreme, but that she should really per- 
fect their authority, just as divine grace perfects human nature, 
and should give to them the assistance necessary for men to attain 
their true final end, eternal happiness, and by that very fact make 

81 Cf. Ephesians, ffl, 15. 


UBI ARC AN O DEI [803-806] 

them the more deserving and certain promoters of their happiness 
here below. 

803. It is, therefore, a fact which cannot be questioned that the 
true Peace of Christ can only exist in the Kingdom of Christ "the 
Peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ." It is no less unques- 
tionable that, in doing all we can to bring about the re-establish- 
ment of Christ's Kingdom, we will be working most effectively 
toward a lasting world peace. 

804. Pius X, in taking as his motto, "To restore all things in 
Christ," was inspired from on High to lay the foundations of that 
"work of peace" which became the program and principal task 
of Benedict XV. These two programs of Our Predecessors We 
desire to unite in one the re-establishment of the Kingdom of 
Christ by peace in Christ a the Peace of Christ in the Kingdom of 
Christ." With might and main We shall ever strive to bring about 
this peace, putting Our trust in God, Who, when He called Us to 
the Chair of Peter, promised that the divine assistance would never 
fail Us. We ask that all assist and co-operate with Us in this Our 
mission. Particularly We ask you to aid Us, Venerable Brothers, 
you, His sheep, whom Our leader and Lord, Jesus Christ, has called 
to feed and to watch over as the most precious portion of His flock, 
which comprises all mankind. . . . 

805. Of your praiseworthy industry, We have had a quite recent 
proof on the occasion of the International Eucharistic Congress held 
in Rome and of the celebration of the Centenary of the Sacred 
Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith, when several hun- 
dred bishops from all sections of the globe were reunited with Us 
before the tomb of the Holy Apostles. That brotherly reunion, so 
solemn, because of the great number and high dignity of the bishops 
who were present, carried Our thoughts to the possibility of another 
similar meeting of the whole episcopate here in the center of Catho- 
lic unity, and of the many effective results which might follow 
such a meeting toward the re-establishment of the social order after 
the terrible disorders through which we have just passed. The very 
proximity of the Holy Year fills Us with the solemn hope that this 
Our desire may be fully realized 

806. From the reports received from you by Us and by public 
fame, which is amply confirmed in the Press and in many other 
ways, We know only too well what thanks We should, in union 


[807-809] PIUS xi 

with you, render to the Good God for the great work which, as the 
occasion permitted, He has done through you and through your 
predecessors, both for your clergy and for your faithful people, a 
work which has come to maturity in our own times and which We 
see being multiplied on all sides in a most fruitful manner 

807. The fruits of such piety are manifest, the widespread dif- 
fusion and great activity of the apostolate which, by prayer, word 
of mouth, by the religious Press, by personal example, by works of 
charity seeks in every way possible to lead souls to the Sacred Heart 
of Jesus and to restore to the same Sacred Heart His sovereign rule 
over the family and over society. We refer also to the holy battle 
waged on so many fronts to vindicate for the family and the Church 
the natural and divinely given rights which they possess over edu- 
cation and the school. Finally, We include among these fruits of 
piety that whole group of movements, organizations and works so 
dear to Our fatherly heart which passes under the name of "Catho- 
lic Action," and in which We have been so intensely interested. . 

808. All these organizations and movements ought not only to 
continue in existence, but ought to be developed more and more, 
always, of course, as the conditions of time and place seem to de- 
mand. There can be no question of the fact that these conditions 
are at times very difficult and exact of both pastors and the faithful 
a great and increasing amount of sacrifice and labor. But since such 
work is vitally necessary, it is without question an essential part 
of our Christian life and of the Sacred Ministry and is, therefore, 
indissolubly bound up with the restoration of the Kingdom of 
Christ and the re-establishment of that true peace which can be 
found only in His Kingdom "the Peace of Christ in the Kingdom 
of Christ" 

809. Tell your faithful children of the laity that when, united 
with their pastors and their bishops, they participate in the works 
of the apostolate, both individual and social, the end purpose of 
which is to make Jesus Christ better known and better loved, then 
they are more than ever a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood, 
a holy nation, a purchased people, of whom St. Peter spoke in such 
laudatory terms. 62 Then, too, they are more than ever united with 
Us and with Christ, and become great factors in bringing about 
world peace because they work for the restoration and spread of 

62 1 Peter, II, 9. 


UBI ARCANO DEI [810-813] 

the Kingdom of Christ. Only in this Kingdom of Christ can we 
find that true human equality by which all men are ennobled and 
made great by the selfsame nobility and greatness, for each is en- 
nobled by the precious Blood of Christ. As for those who are in 
authority, they are, according to the example of Our Lord Jesus 
Christ, but ministers of the good, servants of the servants of God, 
particularly of the sick and of those in need. 

8 10. However, these very social changes, which have created 
and increased the need of co-operation between the clergy and laity 
to which We have just referred, have themselves brought along in 
their wake new and most serious problems and dangers. As an 
after-effect of the upheaval caused by the Great War and of its 
political and social consequences, false ideas and unhealthy senti- 
ments have, like a contagious disease, so taken possession of the 
popular mind that We have grave fears that even some among the 
best of our laity and of the clergy, seduced by the false appearance 
of truth which some of these doctrines possess, have not been al- 
together immune from error. 

811. Many believe in or claim that they believe in and hold 
fast to Catholic doctrine on such questions as social authority, the 
right of owning private property, on the relations between capital 
and labor, on the rights of the laboring man, on the relations be- 
tween Church and State, religion and country, on the relations 
between the different social classes, on international relations, on 
the rights of the Holy See and the prerogatives of the Roman Pon- 
tiff and the episcopate, on the social rights of Jesus Christ, Who 
is the Creator, Redeemer, and Lord not only of individuals but of 
nations. In spite of these protestations, they speak, write, and what 
is more, act as if it were not necessary any longer to follow, or that 
they did not remain still in full force, the teachings and solemn 
pronouncements which may be found in so many documents of 
the Holy See, and particularly in those written by Leo XIII, Pius X 
and Benedict XV. 

812. There is a species of moral, legal and social modernism 
which We condemn, no less decidedly than We condemn theologi- 
cal modernism 

813. From this Apostolic Center of the Church of Christ, We 
turn Our eyes toward those who, unfortunately in great numbers, 
are either ignorant of Christ and His Redemption or do not follow 

35 1 

[814-815] PIUS xi 

in their entirety His teachings, or who are separated from the unity 
of His Church and thus are without His Fold, although they, too, 
have been called by Christ to membership in His Church. The 
Vicar of the Good Shepherd, seeing so many of his sheep gone 
astray, cannot but recall and make his own the simple but expres- 
sive words of Christ, words which are permeated through and 
through by the longings born of divine desire: And other sheep I 
have, that are not of this fold: them also I must bring 3 He cannot 
but rejoice in that wonderful prophecy which filled even the Sacred 
Heart of Jesus with joy. And they shall hear My voice, and there 
shall be one Fold and one Shepherd?* May God, and We join with 
you and with all the faithful in this prayer, shortly bring to fulfill- 
ment His prophecy by transforming this consoling vision of the 
future into a present reality. 

814. One of the outstanding manifestations of this religious 
unity, and a happy augury for the future, is that altogether unex- 
pected, but well-known fact of which you have knowledge, Ven- 
erable Brothers, a fact not pleasing to some perhaps, but certainly 
very consoling both to Us and to you, namely, that recently the 
representatives and rulers of practically every nation, motivated by 
a common and instinctive desire for union and peace, have turned 
to this Apostolic See in order to bind themselves closer to Us or to 
renew in some cases the bonds of amity and friendship which had 
joined us together previously. We rejoice at this fact, not merely 
because it increases the prestige of Holy Church, but because it is 
becoming increasingly evident on all sides, and especially from 
actual experience, what great possibilities for peace and happiness, 
even here below, such a union with Us possesses for human society. 
Although the Church is committed by God, first of all, to the 
attainment of spiritual and imperishable purposes, however, because 
of the very intimate and necessary connection of things one with 
another, such a mission serves likewise to advance the temporal 
prosperity of nations and individuals, even more so than if she were 
instituted primarily to promote such ends. 

815. The Church does not desire, neither ought she to desire, 
to mix up without a just cause in the direction of purely civil affairs. 
On the other hand, she cannot permit or tolerate that the State use 


> X, 1 6. 

64 Ibidem. 


the pretext of certain laws or unjust regulations to do injury to 
the rights of an order superior to that of the State, to interfere 
with the constitution given the Church by Christ, or to violate the 
rights of God Himself over civil society. 

816. We make Our very own, Venerable Brothers, the words 
which Benedict XV, of happy memory, used in the last allocution 
which he pronounced at the Consistory of November twenty-first 
of last year, when he spoke of the treaties asked for or proposed to 
Us by various States: "We cannot possibly permit that anything 
harmful to the dignity or liberty of the Church creep into these 
treaties, for it is all-important that the safety and freedom of the 
Church be guarded at all times, and especially in our own days, 
and this in the lasting interests of human society itself." 65 

817. It is scarcely necessary to say here how painful it is to Us 
to note that from this galaxy of friendly powers which surround 
Us, one is missing, Italy, Our own dear native land, the country 
where the Hand of God, Who guides the course of history, has 
set down the Chair of His Vicar on earth, in this city of Rome 
which, from being the capital of the wonderful Roman Empire, 
was made by Him the capital of the whole world, because He 
made it the seat of a sovereignty which, since it extends beyond 
the confines of nations and States, embraces within itself all the 
peoples of the whole world. The very origin and divine nature 
of this sovereignty demand, the inviolable rights of conscience of 
millions of the faithful of the whole world demand that this sacred 
sovereignty must not be, neither must it ever appear to be, subject 
to any human authority or law whatsoever, even though that law 
be one which proclaims certain guaranties for the liberty of the 
Roman Pontiff. 

818. The true guaranties of liberty, in no way injurious, but 
on the contrary of incalculable benefit to Italy, which Divine 
Providence, the Ruler and Arbiter of mankind, has conferred upon 
the sovereignty of the Vicar of Christ here below, these guaranties 
which for centuries have fitted in so marvelously with the divine 
designs in order to protect the liberty of the Roman Pontiff, neither 
Divine Providence itself has manifested nor human ingenuity has 
as yet discovered any substitute which would compensate for the 
loss of these rights; these guaranties We declare have been and are 

65 See supra n. 725. 


[819-823] PIUS xi 

still being violated. Whence it is that there has been created a 
certain abnormal condition of affairs which has grievously troubled 
and, up to the present hour, continues to trouble the consciences 
of the Catholics of Italy and of the entire world. 

819. We, therefore, who are now the heirs and depositories of 
the ideals and sacred duties of Our Venerated Predecessors, and like 
them alone invested with competent authority in such a weighty 
matter and responsible to no one but God for Our decisions, We 
protest, as they have protested before Us, against such a condition 
of affairs in defense of the rights and of the dignity of the Apostolic 
See, not because We are moved by any vain earthly ambition of 
which We should be ashamed, but out of a sense of Our duty to 
the dictates of conscience itself, mindful always of the fact that We, 
too, must one' day die and of the awful account which We must 
render to the Divine Judge of the ministry which He has confided 
to Our care. 

820. At all events, Italy has not nor will she have in the future 
anything to fear from the Holy See, The Pope, no matter who he 
shall be, will always repeat the words: / thinly thoughts of peace, 
not of affliction thoughts of a true peace which is founded on 
justice and which permit him truthfully to say: Justice and Peace 
have fyssed. 67 

821. It is God's task to bring about this happy hour and to 
make it known to all; men of wisdom and of good-will surely will 
not permit it to strike in vain. When it does arrive, it will turn 
out to be a solemn hour, one big with consequences not only for 
the restoration of the Kingdom of Christ, but for the pacification 
of Italy and the world as well. 

822. We pray most fervently, and ask others likewise to pray, 
for this much-desired pacification of society, especially at this 
moment when, after twenty centuries, the day and hour approach 
when all over the world men will celebrate the humble and meek 
coining among us of the sweet Prince of Peace, at whose birth the 
heavenly hosts sang: Glory be to God in the highest; and on earth 
peace to men of good-will. ^ 

823. As an augury of this peace for mankind, may the Apostolic 

66 Jeremias, XXIX, n. 

67 Psalms, LXXXIV, 11. 

"Ltffon, 14. 



Blessing, which We invoke upon you and your flock, on your 
clergy, your people, on their families and homes bring happiness 
to the living, peace and eternal rest to the dead. From the depths 
of Our heart as a sign of Our fatherly love, We impart to you, to 
your clergy, and to your people, the Apostolic Blessing. 


ROME. 69 

The Pope as\s prayers that humanity may be saved 
from new scourges of war. 

January 31, 1923 

824. When, on the eve of Christmas, as an echo, so to speak, 
of the Angels' message of peace promised to men of good will, 
We sent out to the whole society of mankind the paternal entreaty, 
the affectionate augury of "The Peace of Christ in the Kingdom 
of Christ," We could not but express at the same time the feeling 
of sadness and anxiety caused by sorrow for existing evils and fear 
of more to come, both the one and the other a miserable heritage 
of the war. But We were far from foreseeing such an immediate 
unhappy confirmation of Our words. You, My Lord Cardinal, 
surely feel, in unison with Us, all the misery, all the gravity of the 
present situation. Far from Us is the thought of entering into 
the merits of the many questions disturbing the peoples; but We 
cannot help a feeling of anguish at the terrible spectre of new con- 
flagrations with all their effects of loss and sorrow for individuals, 
families, cities and provinces. And if this causes anxiety in all 
minds, most of all must it do so with Us, who feel Ourself equally 
Father of all in the spiritual paternity belonging to Our Apostolic 
Ministry. That is why, as We lack human means of preventing 
all these troubles, We repeat the invocation of supplication: O our 
God, as we ^now not what to do we can only turn our eyes to 
Thee; 70 and We ask you, My Lord Cardinal, to invite the faithful 
of Our city of Rome to join Us in prayer to obtain that the Lord, 
Author and Lover of peace, may save suffering humanity from 

69 Translation from The Tablet, v. 141, p. 191 (February 10, 1923). Original Italian, 

A-A.S., v, 15, pp. 97-98 (March 5, 1923). 
70 II Paralipomcnon, XX, 12. 


[825-826] PIUS xi 

new scourges and may bring back peoples and governments to 
those feelings of fraternity and love, justice and equity, which may 
inspire friendly agreements among them. . . . 


The Franciscan Tertiaries have an apostolate of peace 
and reconciliation. 

February 26, 1923 

825 We have already signified with what sentiments 

We give you the Apostolic Blessing, which, with sentiments of filial 
piety, you have come to ask at the house of your Father. . . . May 
it effect, by the divine assistance, the realization of the pious aspira- 
tions just expressed and expounded in your name. May it effect 
that they may lead you on to ever higher perfection, rendering 
ever more effective the apostolate of your Christian life, and espe- 
cially the apostolate of peace and reconciliation which shall eventu- 
ally carry the world to the triumph of "the Peace of Christ in the 
Kingdom of Christ." 


The Church proves her sincere desire for peace by 
fulfilling the offices of Christian charity toward her 

May 23, 1923 

826 In the Near East, in Europe and Asia, where 

Christianity has so many and such vital records and interests, the 
horizon is still covered by dark and threatening clouds. Conditions 
are still those of unspeakable tribulation for entire peoples and 
countries, with incalculable harm not only to our holy Religion 
but also to the most elementary interests of humanity and civiliza- 
tion. It is almost superfluous to add that, just as We have always 

71 Translation from Rome Hath Spoken, pp. 50-51. Original Italian, Acta Ordinis 

Fratrum Minorum, v. 42, p. 121 (April, 1923). 

72 Translation from The Tablet, v. 141, pp. 731-732 (June 2, 1923). Original Latin, 

A.A.S., v. 15, pp. 249-252 (June i, 1923). 

35 6 

GRATUM NOBIS [827-828] 

defended, and will always defend to the utmost of Our power, the 
rights of Catholics, as inalienable as they are evident and above all 
preponderant, over the Holy Places, so also We will continue to 
give all the comfort and help in Our power to relieve the many 
miseries to which We have alluded. We can only wish that it had 
been given Us to rescue all the homeless and find a refuge for all 
the orphans, as We have been able to do for some very few indeed 
in comparison with the need by the aid of the wide charitable 
generosity for which We take the opportunity of this solemn 
moment and meeting to express Our thanks. 

827. Europe itself, too, suffers from many serious ills. On the 
Continent and in the great islands, peoples of old and magistral 
civilization are contending and wearing themselves out in fratricidal 
and exhausting strife, with actual enormous mutual damage of every 
sort and kind, with danger of immensely greater damage for all 
Europe, indeed for all human society ... a spectacle unspeakably 
sad and grievous for Us, Father of all the contending parties. They 
are divided and agitated by a different conception of, or a different 
desire for, political liberty and independence; or the reciprocally 
disastrous point of divergence is a different interpretation of treaties 
or a different valuation of the rights and duties emerging from 
them. But whether they have remained always at home or have 
left their homes either recently or long ago, they are always, every 
one of them, children of the Father who delights in sitting at the 
common table with his children who have remained, and desires 
and hopes always to see the return of those who have gone away. 
They are all, every one of them, sheep and lambs of the same Fold 
to which the one Divine Shepherd is ever lovingly calling them. 

828. Among the host of those thus striving, We see children 
endeared to Us under many different tides: children of the Isle of 
Saints and of the Isle of Angels, of the Eldest Daughter and of 
Catholic Germany, which put in the balance against the great 
falling away of four centuries ago such noble fervor and sound, 
fruitful organization of Catholic life, even through the terrible war 
and the present troubles. Nor can We help seeing amid the damage 
of every kind the immense sufferings of all the religious institu- 
tions and works of those Our children who, by their very sufferings, 
are rendered ever more dear to Us. Is there need to say with what 
sorrow We see all these things happening, the long continuance 


[829-830] PIUS xi 

of such miserable conditions? God knows We have done and 
attempted everything that was possible, materially and morally, 
to bring them to an end or at least alleviate them; as long as some 
hope shines forth, We shall not cease to do this. We shall speak 
peace, at least by preaching and inculcating peace to Our children 
fighting one another. This peace We now invoke from the bottom 
of Our heart. And it is and will always be possible for Us to pray 
the God of Peace that He bring back and establish His Peace in 
all hearts, inspiring in them justice and charity, leading them to 
friendly understandings, and this prayer We offer and will offer 
with all the ardor of Our soul. 

829. Even more terrible happenings We have seen in Russia. 
There is no need here to recall in detail what all know so well, 
as the story has been told fully in the public Press. But one thing 
We must note. Messengers and ministers of the Head of the 
Catholic Religion were pouring out, on the suffering and starving 
children of great Russia, with devotion and self-sacrifice which 
deserved and indeed received the praise and admiration of all, the 
benefits which were made possible by the help We implored and 
which was given so generously and unfailingly by the Catholics 
of the whole world. While that was happening, authorized repre- 
sentatives of the Catholic Religion were tried and condemned to 
suffer in prison, and one of them even was killed 

830. It is needless to add that all that has happened will not 
stop the charitable work, undertaken and continued now for many 
months, to alleviate the terrible suffering. We shall go on with it 
as long as We see need and as long as We are able, remembering 
the Apostle's words: Be not overcome by evil; but overcome evil 
by good. And this, too, will be a means of showing how We 
long for peace with all, preserving all rights due in justice to the 
feeble, the poor and the suffering, especially those who suffer for 
justice and truth; safeguarding, above all things and before all 
things, in the supreme interests also of civil society, the rights 
of the Catholic Church, established by divine disposition as the 
one and only mistress and upholder of justice and truth, because 
the one and only guardian of the incorruptible teaching and the 
Blood of the Divine Redeemer. The inviolability of these rights 
will always be for Us a line over which it is not possible to pass, 

73 Romans, XII, 21, 



desirous as We ever are to be in peace with all and to co-operate 
in the universal pacification; willing as We are, where it is pos- 
sible, to make concessions and even sacrifices which may be neces- 
sary to attain less troubled conditions of life for the Church, and 
pacification of minds, in the different countries 


Principles on reparations and military occupation are 

June 24, 1923 

831. When, at the beginning of Our Pontificate, with a heart 
full of anguish on account of present ills and fear of ills to come, 
at a moment which seemed decisive for the tranquillity of Europe 
and the salvation of society, We gave you the charge of putting 
before the representatives of the peoples assembled in Council Our 
greetings and Our wishes as a father, We asked all to consider 
how very much worse would be the condition of Europe, already 
so miserable and threatening, if the attempts to reach sincere 
pacification and a lasting agreement should fail once again. 

832. Little more than a year has gone by and it is needless to 
point out how justified Our fear was; in the short time that has 
intervened, international relations have not only not improved, as 
there was every right to hope would result from the Genoa Con- 
ference, rather have they become worse, so as to justify anxiety 
and no small fear for the future. You, My Lord Cardinal, daily 
witness of and sharer in Our cares, know well what sorrow this 
causes Us. Common Father and Head of the whole Christian 
family, We cannot remain indifferent to the troubles of Our children 
and the dangers threatening them. We are taught by the example 
of St. Paul, who said: Who is wea^ and I am not weat^; who is 
scandalized and I am not on fire. 75 

833. Therefore, while We endeavor with all Our power and all 
the means which Our children entrust to Us to this end to alleviate 
the sufferings, so serious and so general, of the present time, it is 

74 Translation from The Tablet, v. 142, pp. 24-25 (July 7, 1923)- Original Italian, 

A.A.S., v. 15, pp. 353-355 (July 5, 1923)- 

75 II Corinthians, XI, 29, 


[834-835] PIUS xi 

Our duty to take advantage of every occasion that offers to co- 
operate as best We may in the pressing work of pacification and 
restoration in Christ, longed for by peoples and individuals. 

834. Now that among the governments of the Powers most 
closely concerned in the war, new diplomatic conversations are in 
view, based on new proposals, in order to reach a friendly solution 
of the questions which are troubling Central Europe and inevitably 
recoiling on all the nations. We believe it to be Our duty to raise 
again Our voice, disinterested, impartial and of good-will toward 
all, as the voice of the Common Father must be. Considering the 
grave responsibility lying at the moment on Us, and on those who 
hold in their hands the destinies of the peoples, We conjure them 
once again to examine the different questions, and particularly 
the question of reparations, in that Christian spirit which does not 
set a dividing line between reasons of justice and the reasons of 
social charity on which the perfection of civil society is based. If and 
when the debtor, with the intention of paying reparation for the 
very serious damage suffered by populations and places once so 
prosperous and flourishing, gives proof of his serious will to reach 
a fair and definite agreement, invoking an impartial judgment on 
the limits of his own capacity to pay and undertaking to hand 
over to the judges every means of true and exact control, then justice 
and social charity, as well as the very interests of the creditors and 
of all the nations, wearied of strife and longing for peace, seem to 
require that no demand shall be made from the debtor that he 
cannot meet without entirely exhausting his resources and his 
capacity for production, with irreparable damage to himself and to 
his creditors, with danger of social disturbances which would be the 
ruin of Europe, and with resentment which would be a perpetual 
menace of new and worse conflagrations. In equal measure it is 
just that the creditors should have guarantees in proportion to their 
dues, to ensure the payments on which depend interests vital for 
them, too; We leave it, however, to them to consider whether for 
that purpose it is necessary to maintain in every case territorial 
occupations which impose heavy sacrifices on occupied and occu- 
piers, or whether it would not be better to substitute for these, 
possibly by degrees, other guarantees -equally effective and certainly 
less painful. 

835. If these pacific bases be agreed to by both sides and, in 


consequence, the bitterness caused by the territorial occupation is 
eliminated and by degrees the occupation itself is reduced until it 
comes to an end entirely, it will be possible to reach that true 
pacification of the peoples which is also a necessary condition for 
the economic restoration which all keenly desire. Such pacification 
and restoration are of such great benefit for all the nations, con- 
querors and conquered, that no sacrifice seen to be necessary ought 
to seem too great in order to obtain them. 

836. But just because these benefits are so great there is no 
other way to obtain them except by special favor of Almighty God 
from Whom come every best gift and every perfect gift} Q There- 
fore, to Almighty God in Whose Hands are the hearts of rulers, 
We raise Our prayers and We call on all Christian people together, 
to pray with increasing fervor and union, that the Lord may inspire 
in all thoughts of peace and not of affliction, and together with the 
thoughts of peace, the noble purpose to actuate them and power to 
carry them out. Thus we shall see happily brought about, to the 
comfort of all, what Mother Church invokes on the whole world 
in the prayer which she puts on the lips of her ministers in the 
liturgy: Da qucesumus Domine, ut et mundi cursus pacifice nobis 
tuo ordine dirigatur et Ecclesia tua tranquilla devotions laetetur. . . . 

OF STATE, OF THE LETTER, Quando nd Principio. 77 

Further explanation of the Popes ideas on reparations 
and the occupation of the Ruhr. 

June 29, 1923 

837 His spiritual fatherhood, which embraces all 

peoples, does not permit the Sovereign Pontiff to remain indifferent 
to the present evils and to the threat of even greater evils which 
the future holds; it urges him to profit by every occasion which 
offers itself in order to collaborate in some way in the necessary 
task of pacifying and restoring in Christ, nations and individuals, 
in accord with their desires. 

838. Reflecting on the heavy responsibility which weighs upon 
him at the present hour, upon him as well as upon those who hold 

76 James, I, 17. 

7T Original French, Documentation Catholique, v. 10, cc. 70-71 (July 21, 1923). 


[839-841] PIUS xi 

the destiny of nations in their hands, the Holy Father implores 
them once again to examine the various questions, and in particular 
the problem of reparations, in that Christian spirit which does not 
separate the demands of justice from those of social charity. With 
a view to dissipating any future misunderstandings, let us see what 
the demands of justice and social charity are according to the papal 
document; let us give a brief commentary on the text itself, but let 
us scrupulously respect the sense of the text. 

839. In pursuance of the rule laid down in the letter of the 
Pope, Germany, the debtor nation by asking for an impartial 
judgment on the limits of its own ability to pay, engaging itself 
the while implicitly to put the judges honestly in possession of the 
facts and furnishing them with every means of exercising a genuine 
and exact check admits its obligation to make reparation to the 
extent that this is possible for the damages caused 'to populations 
and regions once prosperous and flourishing. 

840. At the same time, on their side, the creditors the Powers 
of the Entente, above all France and Belgium, who are more spe- 
cially interested certainly have the right to demand of the debtor, 
reparation for the damages suffered but not beyond the limits of 
its ability to pay. In other words, they cannot demand of Germany 
what it would not be able to give without exhausting its own 
resources and its own capacity for production; such a demand 
would be contrary to justice and to social chanty, as also to the 
interests not only of the debtor but even of the creditors themselves, 
and would entail the danger of grave social upheavals and of bitter- 
ness which would constitute a continual menace of new and more 
disastrous conflagrations. 

841. As a matter of fact, the creditors do not present such 
demands, but they deny the sincerity of Germany's new proposals 
and are of the opinion that the reparations now demanded, after 
the successive reductions already made, do not exceed the solvency 
of Germany, without there being any need of proving their con- 
tention by making the estimate and the check-up which the Ger- 
mans demand. These are questions which must be the subject of 
diplomatic conversations in the near future. The Holy See neither 
can nor wishes to interfere here; it is sufficient for her to have 
recalled the principles of justice and charity which God Himself 
has charged her with conserving and teaching to the world. 



842. There is reason to hope that in a friendly way or by means 
of an expert appraisement and of the check-up demanded by Ger- 
many, the Powers will arrive at the fixation of the amount which 
Germany can and must pay as reparations; and they will succeed 
in this if they are animated by thoughts of peace and not of 
affliction, to use the Biblical expression quoted in the Pope's letter. 

843. This point made, there is also another, equally important, 
which the pontifical document touches upon, and it is that of 
guarantees. The Holy Father recognizes the right of the creditors 
to obtain guarantees proportioned to the amount of their credit 
and assuring its payment, on which payment depend interests that 
are equally vital for them. Actually territorial occupations are the 
gage or guarantee; but the Holy Father leaves to the creditors 
themselves the duty of deciding whether, in order to secure the 
payments, it is necessary to maintain territorial occupations which 
impose heavy sacrifices on the populations of the occupied territories 
and upon the occupying Powers themselves, and if it would not 
be preferable to substitute, even if it were only by degrees, other 
guarantees equally efficacious but less odious to the people. 

844. If the Powers would adopt the suggestions of the Holy 
Father, the occupations would gradually lose some of their rigor, 
they would be more easily borne by the people and would be 
progressively reduced until they would be totally taken away. And 
then, but only then, one could arrive at last at the sincere peace 
among nations which is also a necessary condition of that economic 
restoration so ardently desired by all 


The Summa Theologica contains the doctrinal basis 
for a real "League of Nations!' 

June 29, 1923 . 

845 Hence, in the second part of the Summa 

Theologica, those teachings are famous which regard the paternal 
or domestic rule, the legal rule of State or nation, the law of peoples, 
peace, war, justice and dominion, laws and their observance, the 

78 Translation from The Catholic Mind, v. 21, pp. 311-312 (August 22, 1923). Original 
Latin, A.A.S., v. 15, p. 319 (July 5, 1923). 


[846-848] PIUS xi 

duty of providing for private necessity as for public prosperity, and 
all this as well in the natural as in the supernatural order. Because, 
if privately and publicly and in the mutual relations of nation with 
nation, these precepts are preserved holily and inviolately, nothing 
else is required for that conciliating "Peace of Christ in the Reign 
of Christ" which the whole world so much desires. 

846. It is, therefore, to be hoped that the doctrines of Aquinas, 
concerning the ruling of peoples and the laws which establish 
their relations with one another, may be better known, since they 
contain the true foundations of that which is termed the "League 
of Nations." 


Pius XI condemns acts of sabotage under the color of 
passive resistance. 

July i, 1923 

847. The Holy Father, in his letter, is endeavoring to bring 
the Powers to a friendly understanding and asks for the suspen- 
sion of everything that might hinder it. He has been bitterly 
grieved to hear that in the occupied territories acts of sabotage and 
of wrong-doing in other ways are being committed under color of 
passive resistance. His Holiness charges Your Excellency to act 
energetically to the end that the Government may once and for all 
condemn such criminal resistance, as the Holy Father himself 
condemns it. 



The nations are still %ept apart by quarrels. 
July 15, 1923 

848. . . . But assuredly nothing would give Us greater joy than 
that the quarrels which still keep nations apart should be settled 

79 Translation from The Tablet, v, 142, p. 49 (July 14, 1923). Original Italian, 

L'Osservatore Romano (July 2, 1923). 

80 Original Latin, AJi.S., v. 15, p. 498 (October I, 1923). 



in the mutual kiss of justice and peace. But to come to the point 
which more immediately furnished the reason for writing, We 
were glad to hear that you had assembled at Venice to discuss and 
prepare the decrees of the Provincial Council which you will soon 
hold. The enactment of these laws will be of greatest advantage 
to each one of your dioceses. We predict, on account of the love 
for souls and skill in administration in which you excel. Both these 
qualities assuredly will have the result that the laws will be precisely 
thought out and most fittingly put into practice. Nevertheless, 
since you yourself sought the efficacy of Our blessing as a support 
for the task you have undertaken, We both praise your sentiments 
of filial devotion, and call down the Divine Blessing upon the 
Council of this Ecclesiastical Province which is soon to be convened. 
And We wish and desire that the clergy and laity of the Province 
of Venice, who have ever been known for their purity of faith and 
devotion to religion, will gladly respond to the attention and care 
of their bishops by submission and obedience. . . . 


UNION. 81 

The Vatican's attitude toward participation in the 
League of Nations. 

August ii, 1923 

849 The project 82 could be accepted only in the sense 

that the Holy See would be at the disposal of the League for 
matters coming within its competence; that is to say, for the elucida- 
tion of questions of principle in regard to morality and public 
international law, and also to give help to the League's relief work, 
where its [the Holy See's] intervention would be o value to suf- 
fering peoples. On this occasion I feel that I must tell you how much 
the Holy Father appreciates the zeal with which, as an officer of the 
League of Nations Union, you uphold Catholic principles in all 
circumstances. ... 

81 Original English, Eppstein, The Catholic Tradition of the Law of Nations, p. 320. 

82 Mr. Eppstein had suggested that diplomatic relations might be established, to the 

mutual advantage of both, between the Council of the League and the Holy See. 

[850-851] PIUS xi 


Even though the war has ended, mutual enmities and 
internal disputes remain. 

August 25, 1923 

850. Now after the vast ruins of that terrible war, in which all 
of Europe was enkindled, while internal disputes are still in evi- 
dence, and also the mutual enmities of nations remain, even though 
the sound of cannons has been stilled, in Our opinion there is 
nothing more efficacious for the salvation of Christian peoples than 
the restoration on earth of the true peace of Christ. Consequently, 
it was with much joy that We discovered in the city of Rome, in 
the Patriarchal Basilica of St. Mary Major, that a pious society of 
the faithful had been canonically organized under the title: "Peace 
of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ" or "The Eucharistic Union 
for the Peace of Christ through the Restoration of the Kingdom of 
Christ." The aim of this movement is to labor spiritually for the 
peace of the world, in keeping with the spirit of the Gospels and 
the admonitions of the Roman Pontiffs, especially by a fervent devo- 
tion to the Holy Eucharist, the Sacrament of Divine Love. . . . 


Catholics must fray for all victims of the war without 
distinction of nationality, class or party. 

October 21, 1923 

851. ... While none of those who have passed to the other 
life can be forgotten by Our charity as the Common Father of all, 
yet at this All Souls' Day Our thoughts turn at once to those 
innumerable multitudes who, during the last few years, were killed 
during the war or who died from wounds or illness which it caused, 
or who fell during the civil wars that have followed upon the death- 
struggle in Europe. Let Us add, too, that Our thoughts turn espe- 
cially to those who, as We have reason to think, now find them- 

83 Original Latin, // Monitors Ecclesiastko, v. 36, p. 33 (February, 1924). 

84 Original Latin, Actes de Pie XI, v. i, pp. 288-290. 



selves deprived o tributes of affection and help from prayer, be- 
cause those whom they held most dear neglect them. . . . 

852. Those who have died in the embrace, of the Lord have 
already lost all resentment and hatred. United forever in the grace 
and the love of Christ, they wait only to be raised to that glory 
which is* reserved for the children of God from every people, tribe 
and nation. We want Catholics to pray for all those who have 
died because of the war or the dissensions which followed it, without 
distinction of nationality, class or party. This universal communion 
of prayers must be brought about in order that the blessed vision 
of peace may be quickened for these, Our beloved children, and in 
order that charity, which is the bond of perfection, having been 
planted more deeply in the souls of men on earth, "The Peace of 
Christ in the Kingdom of Christ" may dawn and hasten to ap- 
pear. . . . 

ALLOCUTION // Renvenuto a Voi TO THE KING OF SpAiN. 85 

Peace and unity, prosperity and glory are the fruit of 
"The Peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ." 

November 19, 1923 

853 Tell your people that in that Divine Heart in 

which you have placed them We find them again, and every day 
shall find them in Our daily approach to our Sacramental Lord; 
and tell them, too, that of that Heart, Breath and Life of the uni- 
verse, We pray and shall pray, as We do for the King and the Royal 
Family, for every grace and every gift of peace and unity, prosperity 
and glory. And if there be any among you, Our poor but ever dear 
children, who do not wish to approach the Divine Heart, tell them 
that for that very reason We turn toward them with a more 
ardent sentiment of paternal love Our thoughts and affection, such 
as the Divine Shepherd turned to the sheep far off, praying for the 
unity of the Fold. Peace and unity, prosperity and glory, these gifts 
will come all together, as a cortege of the heavenly Queen, when 
there comes "The Peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ." Peace 
and unity, prosperity and glory no one of these gifts, Our heart 

85 Translation from The Tablet, v. 142, p. 678 (December i, 1923). Original Italian, 
Civiltb Cattolica, 1923, v. 4, pp. 465-466 (November 24, 1923). 


[854] PIUS xi 

assures Us, will be lacking to your people if, under your guidance 
and following your example, they remain and ever go forward on the 
roads which their fathers marked out and sowed with such splen- 
dor of examples to be imitated; if, with the perpetual regrowth in 
the children of their fathers' Faith and piety, Our holy Catholic 
Religion, the uniquely complete expression of Christianity and all 
its life-giving energies, can continue to carry, in the laws and in 
the school and by these roads the only true ones which can lead 
to the end in society, in the family, in public and private life, its 
salutary influx of holiness and real civilization, of science and art, 
of concord in minds and hearts 



The Pope appeals for aid in helping the post-war 
suffering of Europe. 

December 20, 1923 

854 And first, as regards the conditions of the peoples, 

in foreign and home affairs, as far as concerns peace, on which 
Our anxiety has been shown so often, you see in very truth no 
great improvement. The Letter, known 'to you, which under the 
impulse of paternal love We sent to Our beloved son, Pietro 
Gasparri, Cardinal Secretary of State, in the endeavor to remedy 
in some sort the terrible ills afflicting Central Europe, although not 
entirely fruitless for, indeed, something has been done in the sense 
We indicated did not have the result for which We had the 
right to hope. We did indeed see some result from Our insistent 
prayer for kindness and humanity, but there still remains bitter 
enmity in men's minds; there remain, and indeed increase, poverty 
and need of every sort by which populations afflicted by the war are 
harrowed, to relieve which, now especially that winter approaches 
bringing hunger in its train, that same Cardinal has appealed in Our 
name, through the Nuncios and Legates of the Apostolic See, to 
the nations best provided with foodstuffs, asking them to alleviate 
the suffering to the best of their ability. 

86 Translation from The Tablet, v. 142, p. 841 (December 29, 1923). Original Latin, 
A.A.S., v. 15, pp. 605-606 (December 31, 1923). 

3 68 


855. That Our plea for pity will have satisfactory result for 
those in need. We feel assured, and not without reason; for having, 
more than once before now, called for the help of others on behalf 
of the peoples who have fallen into the worst suffering through 
the war, Our appeal was never made in vain; indeed, the measure 
of generous assistance that came in response was marvelous. 
Through this generosity, for which here once more We express 
all the gratitude that it deserves, We have been enabled to snatch 
almost from the jaws of death numbers who, in Central Europe 
and even more in the Near East and the Far East, too, were dying 
through famine and terrible calamities. We wish it were given to 
Us in the same way to comfort with opportune help, as We would 
like to do, those brave men who are suffering scandalous ill-treatment 
on account of their steadfast attachment to the Catholic Faith. . . . 

ALLOCUTION Amflissimum Consessum Vestrum TO THE COL- 

Religion suffers much from war and national unrest. 
March 24, 1924 

856 Although in the uncertainty and suspense pre- 
vailing in Europe, there still remains 'a considerable amount of 
trouble and difficulty, it seems, nevertheless, that both in the several 
States and in international relations, a somewhat happier con- 
dition of affairs is maturing; and from this We trust that some 
advantage will accrue to religion which has suffered so much from 
the past unrest in national affairs and in the minds of men 

857. Rightly, therefore, Venerable Brethren, we may all be lifted 
up with the hope that the course of this year of expiation 88 may 
do so much to carry forward the Kingdom of God and to promote 
peace among men that "The Peace of Christ in the Kingdom of 
Christ," which We have most ardently desired and sought with 
prayers and sighs, may shine forth sooner than We had antici- 

87 Translation from The Tablet, v. 143/p. 460 (April 5, 1924). Original Latin, A.A.S., 

v. 1 6, pp. 127-129 (April I, 1924). 

88 The approaching Holy Year of 1925. 


[858-859] PIUS xi 


In this Jubilee the pilgrims are as%ed to fray for peace 
among nations. 

May 29, 1924 

858 True it is that Catholicism has made no small 

progress in the most recent times, and that the multitudes who 
have learned from long experience that without God it is vain to 
hope for better things and peace of soul are showing a more 
burning thirst for religion; but it is still necessary that the appetites 
of the peoples and the immoderate and unjust desires of the nations 
be curbed according to the precepts of the Gospel, and that men 
re-unite themselves in divine charity. Never can this habit of 
brotherly love among the peoples be restored, never can there be 
lasting peace, unless that charity too long extinguished, indeed 
entirely forgotten, as a result of the last war be once more taken 
to heart by the peoples and taken as inspiration by Governments. 
There is no one who will not realize how the Holy Year can help 
toward this pacification of individuals and peoples and how oppor- 
tune the moment is. What could bring individuals and peoples 
together better than that a great multitude of pilgrims should come 
together from every part of the world in Rome, this second coun- 
try of the Catholic nations, should gather round the Common 
Father, approach in holy freedom of association that Cement of 
Union, the Most Blessed Eucharist, and there reach up to and 
increase that spirit of charity which the sacred monuments of Rome 
record and so wonderfully put into the hearts of all as a character- 
istic note of all Christians? 

859. You know, beloved children, what are, in general, the 
intentions of the Roman Pontiff; this Jubilee, however, gives Us 
occasion to ask of Almighty God something in particular which 
you, too, will ask together with Us. We mean peace, not so much 
the peace written in treaties as that impressed on souls, that which 
must be restored among the peoples. It may not indeed be so far 
off as it was in past times; nevertheless, it is farther off than Our 

89 Translation from The Tablet, v. 143, pp. 769-770 (June 7, 1924). Original Latin, 
A.A.S., v. 1 6, pp. 211-213 (June 2, 1924). 



hopes and the hopes of all would desire. If, then, you who live in 
Rome and you who come here, with your souls purified of sin and 
lit up by charity, pray at the tombs of the Apostles for such a 
precious blessing, shall it not be that we -may hope that Christ, the 
Prince of Peace, Who once calmed with a gesture the waves of the 
Sea of Galilee, moved at last with pity for His people, may ordain 
that the storms, by which Europe has been overcome now for so long, 
may be checked and calmed? 



His Holiness sends alms to Russia for relief of the 
starving masses, although he completely condemns 

December 18, 1924 

860 On Our part We have decided, as far as it is 

possible to do so, ,to continue, as We have in the past, to help the 
Russians, both those who are living in Russia and those who are 
exiles and who are afflicted with a heavier cross. To more than 
one, We may seem in some way, by this charity toward the Russian 
people which We have mentioned, 91 to have helped a form of 
government which is so far from meriting Our approval that in 
spite of the fact that We have striven, with might and main, for so 
long a time to alleviate the many and great evils which exist among 
these same Russians, We consider it part of the duty of Universal 
Fatherhood committed to Us by God, to admonish and earnestly to 
beseech all in the Lord, but especially the rulers of nations, that as 
lovers of prosperity and peace and as promoters of the sanctity of the 
family and of human dignity, they make a united and serious effort 
to protect themselves and their people from the very grave and 
certain dangers and losses arising from Socialism and Communism, 
as they are called, using, however, at the same time, the necessary 
means and care to better the lot of workingmen and, in general, 
of all men'in humble condition. For this We pray unceasingly to 

90 Original Latin, A.A.S., v. 16,' pp. 494-495 (December 31, 1924). 

91 Pius XT sent several million dollars to Russia for the sick and starving peasants. 

Cf. Hughes, Pope Pius the Eleventh, p. 164. 


[861-862] PIUS xi 

Almighty God, the Lord of nations and the Saviour of peoples, and 
We earnestly ask that all the faithful in the whole world pray with 
Us during the Holy Jubilee Year 


Society has denied the concept of lawful authority and, 
therefore, struggles between the disorder of license and 
a desperate recourse to violence. 

July 16, 1925 

861 The program has authority as its subject, and 

this is, without a doubt, from the viewpoint of social science, one 
of the most vital and comprehensive questions; it is also one of 
the most opportune questions of our day when we see human 
society, because it has denied or falsified the concept of authority, 
struggling between the contrary consequences of the error, between 
the disorder of license and of anarchy, and the desperate recourse 
to violence, the last expedient for maintaining some kind of order, 
when moral force has ceased to exercise its beneficent rule. Catholic 
doctrine keeps its steady balance between these two extremes; it 
does not cease to recognize and support authority, properly under- 
stood, which is, by that very fact, always reconcilable with sane 
liberty and public prosperity 


// all men recognize Christ as King there will be peace 
among individuals and among nations. 

December n, 1925 

862. In the first Encyclical Letter 94 which We addressed at the 
beginning of Our Pontificate to the bishops of the Universal Church, 
We referred to the chief causes of the difficulties under which man- 
kind was laboring. And We remember saying that these manifold 

sa Original French, Documentation Catholiquc, v. 14, c, 413 (September 26, 1925). 
93 Translation from The Kingship of Christ (C.T.S. Pamphlet), pp. 3-18. Original 

Latin, A.A.S., v. 17, pp. 593-605 (December 28, 1925). 
94 Ubi Arcano Dei, December 23, 1922; see supra nn. 758-823. 


QUAS PRIMAS [863-864] 

evils in the world were due to the fact that the majority of men 
had thrust Jesus Christ and His holy law out of their lives; that 
these had no place either in private affairs or in politics: and We 
said further that, as long as individuals and States refused to submit 
to the rule of our Saviour, there would be no really hopeful pros- 
pect of a lasting peace among nations. Men must look for "The Peace 
of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ"; and this We promised to do 
as far as lay in Our power. In the Kingdom of Christ, that is, it 
seemed to Us that peace could not be more effectually restored nor 
fixed upon a firmer basis than through the restoration of the Empire 
of our Lord 

863. When once men recognize, both in private and in public 
life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings 
of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony. Our 
Lord's regal office invests the human authority of princes and rulers 
with a religious significance; it ennobles the citizen's duty of obedi- 
ence. It is for this reason that St. Paul, while bidding wives revere 
Christ in their husbands, and slaves respect Christ in their masters, 
warns them to give obedience to them not as to men, but as to the 
vicegerents of Christ; for it is not meet that men redeemed by 
Christ should serve their fellow men. You are bought with a price; 
be not made the bond-slaves of men? 5 If princes and magistrates 
duly elected are filled with the persuasion that they rule, not by 
their own right, but by the mandate and in the place of the Divine 
King, they will exercise their authority piously and wisely; they 
will make laws and administer them, having in view the common 
good and also the human dignity of their subjects. The result will 
be order, peace and tranquillity, for there will be no longer any 
cause of discontent. Men will see in their king or in their rulers 
men like themselves, perhaps unworthy or open to criticism, but 
they will not on that account refuse obedience if they see reflected 
in them the authority of Christ, God and Man. Peace and har- 
mony, too, will result; for with the spread and the universal exten- 
sion of the Kingdom of Christ men will become more and more 
conscious of the link that binds them together, and thus many 
conflicts will be either prevented entirely or at least their bitterness 
will be diminished. 

864. If the Kingdom of Christ, then, receives, as it should, all 

95 1 Corinthians, VH, 23. 


[865] PIUS xi 

nations under its sway, there seems no reason why We should despair 
of seeing that peace which the King of Peace came to bring on 
earth He Who came to reconcile all things, Who came not to be 
ministered unto but to minister, Who, though Lord of all, gave 
Himself to us as a model of humility, and with His principal law 
united the precept of charity; Who said also: My yo\e is sweet 
and my burden light? 6 Oh, what happiness would be Ours if all 
men, individuals, families and nations, would but let themselves 
be governed by Christ. "Then at length," to use the words addressed 
by Our Predecessor, Pope Leo XIII, twenty-five years ago, to the 
bishops of the Universal Church, 97 "will many ills be cured; then 
will the law regain its former authority, peace with all its blessings 
be restored. Men will sheathe their swords and lay down their 
arms when all freely acknowledge and obey the authority of Christ, 
and every tongue confesses that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory 
of God, the Father." That these blessings may be abundant and 
lasting in Christian society, it is necessary that the Kingship of our 
Saviour should be as widely as possible recognized and understood, 
and to this end nothing would serve better than the institution of 

a special feast in honor of the Kingship of Christ 

865. If We ordain that the whole Catholic world shall revere 
Christ as King, We shall minister to the need of the present day, 
and at the same time provide an excellent remedy for the plague 
which now infects society. We refer to the plague of secularism, 
its errors and impious activities. This evil spirit, as you are well 
aware, Venerable Brethren, has not come into being in one day; 
it has long lurked beneath the surface. The Empire of Christ over 
all nations was rejected. The right which the Church has from 
Christ Himself, to teach mankind, to make laws, to govern peoples 
in all that pertains to their eternal salvation, that right was denied. 
Then gradually the Religion of Christ came to be likened to false 
religions and to be placed ignominiously on the same level with 
them. It was then put under the power of the State and tolerated 
more- or less at the whim -of" princes and rulers. Some men went 
further, and wished to set up in the place of God's Religion a 
natural religion consisting in some instinctive affection of the heart. 
There were even some nations who thought they could dispense 

96 Matthew, XI, 30. 

97 Encyclical Annum Sacrum, May 25, 1899; see supra Jin. 214-216. 


JAM ANNUS [866-867] 

with God, and that their religion should consist in impiety and 
the neglect of God. The rebellion of individuals and of nations 
against the authority of Christ has produced deplorable effects. We 
lamented these in the Encyclical Ubi Arcano; We lament them 
to-day: the seeds of discord sown far and wide; those bitter enmities 
and rivalries between nations, which still hinder so much the cause 
of peace; that insatiable greed which is so often hidden under a 
pretense of public spirit and patriotism, and gives rise to so many 
private quarrels; a blind and immoderate selfishness, making men 
seek nothing but their own comfort and advantage, and measure 
everything by these; no peace in the home, because men have for- 
gotten, or neglect their duty; the unity and stability of the family 
undermined; society, in a word, shaken to its foundations and on 
the way to ruin. We firmly hope, however, that the Feast of the 
Kingship of Christ, which in future will be yearly observed, may 
hasten the return of society to our loving Saviour 


Reconciliation with God is the best preparation for 
peace among peoples. 

December 14, 1925 

866 From which happy story" derives the hope, con- 
fident because well founded ... of much precious aid for true 
peace among the peoples and between the peoples, one of Our 
intentions given to the people for their prayers in this Holy Year. 
This We add because nothing could be more clearly true than that 
the best preparation for peace among the peoples is their reconcilia- 
tion with Almighty God. . . . 

867. No less evident is it that a wonderful harmony governs 
events from on High when^ on the one hand, the Holy Year brings 
the peoples together as brothers in the charity of Christ and of the 
Church and sets all the world praying for "The Peace of Christ in 
the Kingdom of Christ," and, on the other, such notable advance 
is made and solemn agreements concluded in the peaceful directions 

98 Translation from The Tablet, v. 146, p. 879 (December 26, 1925)- Original Latin, 

A.A.S., v. 17, pp. 639-642 (December 28, 1925). 

99 The story of the Holy Year which the Pope had just related. 


[868-869] PIUS xi 

so often indicated and recommended by the Vicar of Christ as 

Father of all 

868. You see, then, Venerable Brothers, that We had reason 
for saying that Our joy in this Holy Year was tinged with sadness. 
And not from one cause only. While appreciating in fullest measure 
everything which tends to prevent or even only attenuate class war- 
fare and to co-ordinate the work of all citizens for the common 
good, We regret that, while in these days laws are being framed 
in what are called economic and social matters, it has not been 
thought possible to take full and due account of Catholic teaching 
and of the Catholic action which is charged to develop that teaching 
and put it in practice, above all in the very field in which both 
teaching and action are specially necessary and salutary; for there 
are laws of liberty which the Church, by reason of its office, is bound 
to safeguard and vindicate. The Church, by its teaching and in 
its institution, is as far removed from that license and anarchy to 
which Liberalism and Socialism, which the Church condemns, 
inevitably lead society, as from every political conception which 
makes society or the State an end in itself, from which naturally, 
fatally indeed, it finishes in absorbing or destroying private rights, 
with results clearly no less calamitous 


The Pope requests the bishops to instruct the people 
to pray for peace. 

December 25, 1925 

869 . Moreover, the same bishops shall instruct the 

faithful entrusted to them that they must pray for those intentions 
which We announced in proclaiming the Jubilee for the city of 
Rome, namely: for the spread of the Catholic Faith, for peace and 
harmony among nations, for a solution of the problems besetting 
the Holy Places in Palestine, which will respect the rights of the 
Catholic Church 

Original Latin, A.A.S., v. 17, p. 612 (December 28, 1925). 


LETTER Ab If sis Pontificatus Primordiis TO THE VICARS APOS- 

The Church is not hostile to national aspirations. 
June 15, 1926 

870 The most holy work of the missions would be 

still more fruitful, if one could destroy a prejudice, from day to 
day more tenacious and wider spread, notably amongst young 
people badly informed in whose mind it takes root: We refer to 
the prejudice which attributes to the action of the Catholic Church 
and her missidnaries, not the service of religion, but that of the 
interests and the politics of foreign nations. Whence one concludes 
that the Church is hostile to the independence of the peoples whom 
she evangelizes, as well as to the free exercise of their national 


HAVRE. 102 

The peace that exists is more nominal than real. 
June 29, 1926 

871 The Holy Father, justly concerned over the state 

of affairs created by the recent world-wide conflict and conscious of 
the grave obligations incumbent upon him by reason of his Universal 
Fatherhood, has already set forth at different times the means best 
suited to improve the condition of international relationships and 
to effect in the greatest measure possible the best understanding 
between the different peoples. * 

872. It is, therefore, with peculiar satisfaction that His Holiness 
congratulates you upon the selection of the program for the forth- 
coming deliberations of the Social Week, for the selection made 
proves how deeply you are penetrated with the importance of these 
problems which are so intimately bound up with the prosperity 
of the nations. 

101 Translation from Schaefer, A Papal Peace Mosaic, p. 42. Original Latin, A.A.S., 

v. 1 8, p. 304 (August 2, 1926). 

102 Original French, Documentation Catholique, v. 16, c, 220 (August 14, 1926), 


[873-875] PIUS xi 

873. Even while aware of the many difficulties which this pro- 
gram imposes upon you, the Holy Father never doubts but that 
die noble intellects who have consecrated themselves to the task 
will, by their conscientious studies and their practical solutions for 
each problem, bring it about that society takes a big step forward 
toward that social peace which is still the object of so many desires 
and the universal aspiration of the nations. 

874. Though nations are divided by their respective boundaries, 
this does not mean that they must divest themselves of interest in 
one another's progress and in their mutual well-being. Because this 
truth has been lost sight of, the most disastrous consequences have 
resulted; and it is not hard to see that even the peace recently 
concluded has been more nominal than real, since it has not done 
away with the serious difficulties that face us at this moment. Being 
the outcome of this painful problem, the program of the i8th Social 
Week of France is also more than a promise of a better future. 
As the principal aim of these "Weeks" has been to study this prob- 
lem in the light of the direction of the Holy See, the Holy Father 
does not doubt of their success, since they will conform rigorously 
to the teachings of the Vicar of Christ, who alone is able to bring 
about for nations the desire of Christ expressed to His apostles 
in the Cenacle: Pax Vobis 


There is a widespread desire for peace and unity 
among nations. 

January 6, 1928 

875. The will to strengthen and to diffuse for the common 
good of human society that brotherhood in which we are all closely 
united by the bonds of a common nature and origin has never per- 
haps so taken hold of men's minds as in our times. When nations 
do not fully enjoy the blessings of peace, and old and new discords 
break forth into mutiny and conflict; when, indeed, it is impossible 
to settle the numerous controversies that strike at the peace and 
prosperity of peoples without the harmonious action of those who 
govern States and rule and promote their interests, it is easy to 

103 Translation from The Promotion of True Religious Unity (N.C.W.C. pamphlet), 
pp. 1-2. Original Latin, A.A-S., v. 20, p. 5 (January 10, 1928). 

37 8 


understand, and all the more so now that all accept the unity of 
mankind, how it is that, impelled by the desire for universal brother- 
hood, many should be anxious that the various nations stand ever 
more closely together 


PARIS. 104 

Justice, united to charity, is the mother of peace. 
July 7, 1928 

876 In hearts in which the Divine Goodness is mir- 
rored, justice is steeped in charity; it does not, therefore, instigate 
against one another groups of men who are still enemies; on the 
contrary, it reconciles them, for it basically and effectively solves 
their conflicts. Wherefore, it is to this justice thus animated by 
charity that His Holiness, Pius XI, in his Encyclical TJbi Arcano, 105 
has declared that the words of the prophet are applicable: Opus 
justitiae pax. 106 It is justice, inseparably united to charity, which is 
the mother of peace a sincere peace which penetrates hearts and 
tranquilizes them once more, which disposes them mutually to the 
most fraternal good-will, an enduring peace which corresponds to 
the wish expressed by Leo XIII, concerning the welfare of society, 
a fruitful peace wherein the most magnificent progress becomes 
possible for Christian civilization 


The Pope rejoices in the establishment of peace which 
he hopes is -founded on chanty and justice. 

August i, 1928 

877. The Holy Father, who has followed and follows with 
very great interest the course of events in China, and who has been 

104 Original French, Documentation Catholiquc, v. 20, c. 228 (August 18, 1928). 

105 C/. supra nn. 758-823. 

106 Ijaias, XXXII, 17. 

107 Translation from The TabUt, v. 152, pp. 213-214 (August 18, 1928). Original 

Italian, A.A.S., v. 20, pp. 245-246 (August i, 1928). 


[878-880] PIUS xi 

the first to treat China not only on terms of perfect equality, but 
by an act of sincere and very special sympathy, has consecrated by 
his own hands at Rome in St. Peter's the first Chinese bishops, 
gives fervent thanks to God for the conclusion of the civil war, 
and hopes that the peace thus restored may be enduring and fruitful, 
within and without, based upon the principles of justice and charity. 

878. Through the attainment of this peace, His Holiness trusts 
that the legitimate rights and aspirations of a people, the most 
numerous in the world, a people of ancient culture, who have 
known periods of greatness and splendor in the past, may be fully 
recognized, and that the Chinese people, persevering in the paths 
of justice and order, may have a great future opened out before 

879. The Holy Father desires the Catholic missions to bring 
their contributions to the peace, well-being and progress of China, 
and in accordance with his letter of June 15, 1926, Ab If sis Pontifi- 
catus Primordiis, directed to the Chinese Ordinaries, he again 
repeats that the Catholic Church professes, teaches and preaches 
respect and obedience to lawfully constituted authority, and de- 
mands for her missionaries and faithful the security and liberty 
of the common rights. 

880. To the same Ordinaries His Holiness recommends, as the 
crown of their evangelical work, the organization and development 
of Catholic Action amongst the faithful of both sexes, more espe- 
cially amongst the young, that by prayer, good words and works 
they may bring their due contribution to the peace, well-being and 
social greatness of their country, by making better known* the 
salutary principles of the Gospel and assisting the bishops and 
priests in the spread of the Christian ideal, and of individual 
and social Christian charity. Finally, His Holiness reiterates his 
augury for the peace and prosperity of China, and, imploring 
Almighty God to grant his prayer in abundant measure, imparts 
to all his fatherly and Apostolic Benediction. 

QUAE NOBIS [881-882] 



Catholic Action contributes to the peace and security 
of human society. 

November 13, 1928 

881 Therefore, it cannot be said that Catholic Action 

neglects the true welfare of the State, since this welfare pertains, 
just as the promotion of every kind of public prosperity, to the 
scope of Christian charity. Is not that welfare wherein is contained 
the immediate end of civil society furthered by Catholic Action 
when it requires that its members respect legitimate authority and 
obey the laws, and that they guard and defend those things in which 
the well-being and happiness of the people consist, such as the 
integrity of moral life, the protection of the home, and agreement 
between all classes, in short, everything that contributes to the peace 
and security of human society? 


Benedict XV relied greatly on prayer to bring peace 
to Europe. 

November 22, 1928 

882 Truly this monument recalls before all else that 

vast and devastating event which occupied all, it can well be said, 
of the Pontificate of Benedict XV; that event in which it appeared 
that the fierce fury which took hold of the world wanted to drag 
it all to a terrible suicide. There returns to Our memory that day 
when we were still not far from the beginning of his Pontificate, 
yet already some months advanced into the terrible World War 
and We almost see and hear it again when to the Sacred College, 
to the prelates come to comfort him with their homage and festive 
wishes, and especially to the Dean of the Sacred College, who, 
acting as interpreter of the whole gathering, nay of the entire 
world, begged him not to stop crying out his word of peace, the 

108 Translation from LoefHer, Directives for Catholic Action, p. 16. Original Latin, 

A.A.S., v. 20, pp. 386-387 (December 3, 1928). 

109 Original Italian, // Monitore Ecclesiastico, v. 41, pp. 61-62 (February, 1929). 


[883] PIUS xi 

afflicted Pontiff responded: "No, Lord Cardinal," We seem to hear 
him again because We, too, were present "We will not speak more 
to men: men do not listen to Us: We will speak to God in prayer- 
and let all pray with Us." And from that day more than ever he 
sank that is exactly the word in prayer, seeking in it not so much 
his own comfort but that help which he saw clearly could not come 
from men but only from God; and he prayed and prayed; they 
knew it well who lived more intimately with him; all know it and 
particularly those who, like Ourself, saw him come here to this 
very basilica to pray, and exactly as he is portrayed in this monu- 
ment, having laid aside all the ornamentation of the solemn 
liturgical vestments, as if in the garment of penance, in the act of 
prayer and supplication. And it is well thus; the solemn vestments 
would not have ornamented so much as crushed the slender and 
frail figure. Thus all see the dear and beloved fatherly figure, and 
it seems as though the internal force of prayer diffuses itself and 
appears through the slender form of his body. And in the back- 
ground which the artist has so aptly placed, there one seems to see 
the great sorrow of the images and thoughts which anguished the 
grieved spirit of the Pope in prayer, because certainly while he 
prayed he saw in his soul the ravished countries and the cities 
in ashes and the clash of opposing ranks and the mountains of 
thousands of dead piled one on top of another, and from afar, as 
the poet would express it, "the misery of the burning city" of 
Europe and of so great a part of the world 

GUAY. 110 

The Pope appeals to both countries to see\ a peaceful 
settlement of their dispute. 

December 18, 1928 

883. The news that has reached Us concerning the two Re- 
publics of Bolivia and Paraguay has deeply grieved Us, as We have 
reason to fear that the solution of the conflict will be sought by 
force of arms. Representative upon earth of Him Whose advent 
brought peace to men of good-will, and as the spiritual Father of 

310 Translation from The Tablet, v. 152, p. 895 (December 29, 1928). Original Italian, 
L'Qsservatore Romano (December 20, 1928). 



both peoples, both alike very dear to Us, We appeal to the Christian 
sentiments of Your Excellency, o your Government, and of your 
people that with all your strength you endeavor to spare your coun- 
try and humanity from the scourge of a war, of which it is always 
difficult to see the consequences. In this sense We pray to the 
Most High, and with this augury We send to you, the President, 
and all your people, Our Paternal Benediction. 


Pius XI rejoices over the return of peaceful relations 
between Bolivia and Paraguay. 

December 24, 1928 

884 We have again trembled and prayed before the 

peril of yet another war, when the memory of the last is still fresh 
in Our mind a war between two peoples and two Republics both 
equally dear to Us. And again behold the Divine Goodness and 
Mercy gives Us an assurance of returning concord between Our 
far-distant children 


The Holy See declares its policy in the field of inter- 
national relations. 

February n, 1929 

885 With regard to the sovereignty pertaining to it 

in the field of international relations, the Holy See declares that 
it wishes to remain, and will remain, extraneous to all temporal 
disputes between nations, and to international congresses convoked 
for the settlement of such disputes, unless the contending parties 
make a joint appeal to its mission of peace; nevertheless, it reserves 
the right in every case to exercise its moral and spiritual power. 
In consequence of this declaration, the State of the Vatican will 
always and in every case be considered neutral and inviolable 

111 Translation from The Tablet, v. 153, p. 20 (January 5, 1929). Original Italian, 

Civiltb, Cattolica, 1929, v. i, p. 14 (December 28, 1928). 

112 Translation from Treaty and Concordat between the Holy See and Italy (N.C.W.C. 

pamphlet), pp. 10-11. Original Italian, A-A.S., v. 21, p. 220 (June 7, 1929). 


[886-887] PIUS xi 


Tranquillity is a necessary condition for stable peace 
and general prosperity. 

February 11, 1929 

886 Before everything else. We have always wished 

to be a father dealing with his children, for Our desire is not to 
make things difficult and complicated, but as easy and simple as 
possible. Also, We would calm and banish all causes of alarm. We 
would make wholly unjust and utterly unreasonable all reproaches 
raised, or to be raised, on the grounds of We were going to say 
superstitious regard for the territorial integrity of the country. It 
seems to Us that We have followed a course that will benefit all, 
both now and in the future, by producing greater tranquillity 
the first and most indispensable condition for stable peace and 
general prosperity 


The Lateran Treaty is an important contribution to 
world peace. 

February 13, 1929 

887 This is the moment which Divine Providence 

has chosen to summon Us to accomplish acts and inaugurate events 
that certainly as far as human, and not only human but super- 
natural, foresight can perceive are destined, We firmly hope and 
trust, as We have long been convinced, to produce precious fruits 
for the glory of God and Christ the King, for the honor of Holy 
Mother Church, for the good of souls, for the good of Italy and 
of so many dear souls the dearer to Us as they are the nearer 
for the good of the whole world. We cannot but make the obvious 
reflection that these events are calculated to evoke the sympathy 
of the entire world, of all upright souls, of all hearts that cherish 

113 Translation from "How the Roman Question Was Settled (C.T.S. pamphlet), pp. 

12-13. Original Italian, A.A.S., v. 21, p. 108 (March 6, 1929). 
114 Translation from How the Roman Question Was Settled (C.T.S. pamphlet), pp. 

18-19. Original Italian, A.A.S., v. 21, pp. 111-112 (March 6, 1929). 



lofty feelings and aspirations because of the great contribution these 
same events bring to the work of pacification, to that peace which 



the Divine Jesus has called His P<?^<? "The Peace of Christ in the 
Kingdom of Christ." ...... 

DISCOURSE Voila une Magnifique Audience TO THE DIPLOMATIC 

CORPS. 115 

To establish peace on a firm foundation, there must be 
not only juridical but also moral guarantees. 

March 9, 1929 

888. This is a magnificent audience, an audience, We do not 
hesitate to say, which surpasses in size and in importance all others. 
This is not merely a compliment, gentlemen, for from a certain 
point of view, a real and positive point of view, your joint visit is 
truly the greatest and most important that could be made to Us, 
and it is you who suggest this point of view. For it is not only 
your esteemed and amiable persons that We see. Behind each one 
of you We cannot help perceiving your respective rulers kings, 
presidents, regents whatever title they may hold, and with them 
your governments, your peoples, your entire countries, altogether- 
a vision of a greatness truly apocalyptic, of a world-wide immensity, 
a visionem magnam } a great vision! 

889. And you come to thank Us for something which, owing 
to you, has become rather a new reason for Our gratitude toward 
you. Indeed it is owing to you, to your good offices, that the com- 
munication, which, by the instrumentality of Our Cardinal Secre- 
tary of State, We have wished to make to you concerning the events 
which were about to be accomplished, it is owing to your intelligent 
and kind transmission and interpretation, that this communication 
has brought Us the most consoling and also the most desirable 
proofs of sympathy and fidelity from your States and your peoples. 
Fidelity and sympathy which have never been belied and have 
sometimes even been accentuated since the year 1870, but which at 
the present time, at a point (We can truly say at a turning point) 
so important in the history of the Holy See, have been expressed 
in demonstrations so solemn, so grandiose, that they have replaced 

115 Original French, The Tablet, v. 153, p. 351 (March 16, 1929). 


[890-892] PIUS xi 

and surpassed without measure all the guarantees that We could 
have desired. 

890. We say the guarantees that We could have desired, be- 
cause there are some guarantees that We could in no way desire 
or accept. This is a distinction which has been forgotten by the 
numerous dilettantes and amateurs (as your eloquent interpreter 
has called them) of international law. This distinction goes back to 
that which arises between juridical and moral guarantees. The 
juridical guarantee is that which the ancient and solemn language 
of law translates by defense, protection: dejensio, tutela. Defensio: 
defense against the enemy or against the insolvent. Against the 
enemy? But We are no one's enemy, and We do not believe that 
We have any other enemies than the enemies of truth and good- 
ness. Defense against the insolvent? But We have believed, and 
We still believe, in the loyalty and the persevering good-will of 
those who have shown themselves ready and, desirous of negotiating. 
If not defense, protection? But even less could We accept this: it 
is the Apostle, St. Paul, who says that even the rich heir nihil differt 

a servo quamdiu sub tutoribus est. And whether defense 

or protection, how could We impose on others such cares and such 
responsibilities ? 

891. But if We can speak of juridical guarantees, We can also 
speak of moral guarantees. Such is, magnificent in its kind, the 
guarantee (it can also be called a diplomatic guarantee) which you, 
gentlemen, represent, which you form, and which your eloquent 
interpreter has so opportunely recalled, so luminously set forth in 
all the extent and force of its meaning. 

892. There is another guarantee which } since the eleventh of 
February, has continued to fill the country and the entire world. 
It is this great, incomparable (and perhaps up to the present, never 
before realized) plebiscite, not only of Italy, but of all parts of the 
world. There is no exaggeration in these words. We have just 
received letters and dispatches, not only from all the cities and vil- 
lages of Italy, not only from all the cities and many vil- 
lages of all the countries of Europe, but also from the two Americas, 
the Indies, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, from the north, 
the center, and the south of Africa, from Alaska, from the Mac- 
Kenzie, from the Hudson, as if there were question of a local 
ue Galatians, IV, i-a. 

3 86 


event. A truly impressive fact, and one that authorizes Us to say 
that not only the people, all the people of Italy, but the people of 
the whole world are with Us: a true plebiscite, not only national 
but world-wide. This is the most imposing guarantee that one can 
think of or imagine. In this vast and immense plebiscite We cannot 
fail to recognize and call attention to some voices which have 
moved Us profoundly. There is first of all the voice of the small 
number of survivors in your different countries among the brave 
men who for years, in the spirit of Catholic faith, have put their 
lives at the disposition and the defense of the Holy See. You will 
tell these brave men that the Holy Father has prayed and offered 
Masses for all their dead, who are also Our dead unforgettable, 

893. Another touching voice is that of those who, especially in 
Italy, have said to Us, "Now we. will again fulfill our Easter duty." 
It is a whole trend, an entire region which is revealed: the region 
of consciences, the trend of religious pacification; it is the most 
elevated point of view, infinitely more worthy of consideration than 
civil and political pacification of a country, although the latter may 
itself be a great and inestimable treasure. This thought brings Us 
back once again to the beautiful and dear mountains of Our youth. 
One must rise to reach the highest points of view; one must reach 
the tops, the summits : from up there, one no longer sees the pretty 
valleys, the picturesque houses, the pensive belfries, but the vision 
becomes infinitely wider and more sublime. 

894. We also, at the point at which We have arrived, when We 
think of the pacification of so many souls, of so many consciences, 
not only of Italy but of the whole world, cannot but feel the duty 
of thanking with all Our heart the good God and all men who 
have given Us the assistance of their good-will in making their 
contribution and a contribution which certainly is not indifferent 
nor of little value to this great work of pacification. It seems to 
Us also that We have the right to rejoice at this and to invite 
everybody to rejoice with Us. 

895. There only remains to Us, gentlemen, to give you (as St. 
Peter, the first Pope, used to say) what We have Our Bene- 
diction. We give it with all Our heart to your families, to your 
countries, to the peoples and Governments that you represent, and 
to all that each one of you bears in his mind and in his heart. 

117 *<;ts, III, 6. 


[896-898] PIUS xi 



The State must not train its youth to be warriors. 
May 14, 1929 

896 We shall not say that for the work in the field 

of education to be accomplished it is necessary, convenient or fitting 
for the State to rear conquerors brought up to conquer. What is 
done in one State could also be done throughout the world; and 
if all the States were to rear conquerors, what would then happen ? 
In this manner one would contribute not to universal peace but to 
universal war. Unless it were meant (and maybe just this was 
meant) that one must rear conquerors of truth and virtue, in which 
case We would most heartily agree 


1 1 Q 


Without true Christian education, order, peace and 
prosperity, whether in the family or in society, will be 

December 31, 1929 

897 It is the inalienable right as well as the indis- 
pensable duty of the Church, to watch over the entire education 
of her children, in all institutions, public or private, not merely in 
regard to the religious instruction there given, but in regard to 
every other branch of learning and every regulation insofar as 
religion and morality are concerned. 

898. Nor should the exercise of this right be considered undue 
interference, but rather maternal care- on the part of the Church 
in protecting her children from the grave danger of all kinds of 
doctrinal and moral evil. Moreover, this watchfulness of the Church 
not only can create no real inconvenience, but must, on the con- 
trary, confer valuable assistance in the right ordering and well- 

118 Original Italian, Civilta Cattolica, 1929, v. 2, p. 466 (May 25, 1929). 

119 Translation from The Catholic Mind, v. 28, pp. 66-85 (February 22, 1930). 

Original Italian, A.A.S., v. 21, pp. 730-753 (December 31, 1929). The Latin text 
known as Divini lllius Magistri is a translation from the Italian. 


being of families and of civil society; for it keeps far away from 
youth the moral poison which at that inexperienced and changeable 
age more easily penetrates the mind and more rapidly spreads its 
baneful effects. For it is true, as Leo XIII has wisely pointed out, 
that without proper religious and moral instruction "every form of 
intellectual culture will be injurious; for young people not accus- 
tomed to respect God, will be unable to bear the restraint of a 
virtuous life, and never having learned to deny themselves any- 
thing, they will easily be incited to disturb the public or- 
der." 120 

899. The family, therefore, holds directly from the Creator the 
mission and, hence, the right to educate the offspring, a right in- 
alienable because inseparably joined to the strict obligation, a right 
anterior to any right whatever of civil society and of the State, and 
therefore, inviolable on the part of any power on earth 

900. It must be borne in mind also that the obligation of the 
family to bring up children, includes not only religious and moral 
education, but physical and civic education as well, principally in- 
sofar as it touches upon religion and morality. This incontestable 
right of the family has at various times been recognized by nations 
anxious to respect the natural law in their civil enactments. Thus, 
to give one recent example, the Supreme Court of the United States 
of North America, in a decision on an important controversy, de- 
clared that it is not in the competence of the State to fix any uniform 
standard of education by forcing children to receive instruction 
exclusively in public schools, and it bases its decision on the natural 
law: the child is not the mere creature of the State; those who 
nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the 
high duty, to educate him and prepare him for the fulfillment of 
his obligations. 121 

901. These rights have been conferred upon civil society by the 
Author of nature Himself, not by title of fatherhood, as in the case 
of the Church and of the family, but in virtue of the authority 
which it possesses to promote the common temporal welfare, which 

120 Encyclical Nobilissima Gallorum Gens, February 8, 1884. 

121 "The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union re- 

pose excludes any general power of the State to standardize its children by forcing 
them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the mere 
creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right 
coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional duties.*' 
U. S. Supreme Court Decision in the Oregon School Case, June i, 1925. 


[902-905] PIUS xi 

is precisely the purpose of its existence. Consequently, education 
cannot pertain to civil society in the same way in which it pertains 
to the Church and to the family, but in a different way correspond- 
ing to its own particular end and object. 

902. Now this end and object, the common welfare in the 
temporal order, consists in that peace and security in which families 
and individual citizens have the free exercise of their rights, and 
at the same time enjoy the greatest spiritual and temporal prosper- 
ity possible in this life, by the mutual union and co-ordination of 
the work of all. The function, therefore, of the civil authority re- 
siding in the State is twofold, to protect and to foster, but by no 
means to absorb the family and the individual, or to substitute itself 
for them 

903. In general, then, it is the right and duty of the State to 
protect, according to the rules of right reason and faith, the moral 
and religious education of youth, by removing public impediments 
that stand in the way. In the first place, it pertains to the State, in 
view of the common good, to promote in various ways the educa- 
tion and instruction of youth. It should begin by encouraging" and 
assisting, of its own accord, the initiative and activity of the Church 
and the family, whose successes in this field have been clearly dem- 
onstrated by history and experience. It should, moreover, supple- 
ment their work whenever this falls short of what is necessary, even 
by means of its own schools and institutions. For the State, more 
than any other society, is provided with the means put at its dis- 
posal for the needs of all, and it is only right that it use these means 
to the advantage of those who have contributed them. 122 

904. Over and- above this, the State can exact, and take measures 
to secure that all its citizens have the necessary knowledge of their 
civic and political duties, and a certain degree of physical, intel- 
lectual and moral culture, which, considering the conditions of our 
times, is really necessary for the common good. 

905. However, it is clear that in all these ways of promoting 
education and instruction, both public and private, the State should 
respect the inherent rights of the Church and of the family con- 
cerning Christian education, and, moreover, have regard for dis- 
tributive justice. Accordingly, unjust and unlawful is any monopoly, 
educational or scholastic, which, physically or morally, forces fami- 

122 Cf. Discourse Ecco Una to the students of the College of Mondragone, May 14, 



lies to make use of government schools, contrary to the dictates o 
their Christian conscience, or contrary even to their legitimate 

906. This does not prevent the State from making due pro- 
vision for the right administration of public affairs and for the 
protection of its peace, within or without the realm. These are 
things which directly concern the public good and call for special 
aptitudes and special preparation. The State may, therefore, reserve 
to itself the establishment and direction of schools intended to pre- 
pare for certain civic duties and especially for military service, 
provided it be careful not to injure the rights of the Church or of 
the family in what pertains to them. It is well to repeat this warn- 
ing here; for in these days there is spreading a spirit of nationalism 
which is false and exaggerated, as well as dangerous to true peace 
and prosperity. Under its influence various excesses are committed 
in giving a military turn to the so-called physical training of boys 
(sometimes even of girls, contrary to the very instincts of human 
nature); or again in usurping unreasonably, on Sunday, the time 
which should be devoted to religious duties and to family life at 
home^ It is not Our intention, however, to condemn what is good 
in the spirit of discipline and legitimate bravery promoted by these 
methods; We condemn only what is excessive, as, for example, 
violence, which must not be confounded with courage nor with 
the noble sentiment of military valor in defense of country and 
public order; or again exaltation of athleticism which even in 
classic pagan times marked the decline and downfall of genuine 
physical training 

907. While treating of education, it is not out of place to show 
here how an ecclesiastical writer, who flourished in more recent 
times, during the Renaissance, the holy and learned Cardinal Silvio 
Antoniano, to whom the cause of Christian education is greatly 
indebted, has set forth most clearly this well-established point of 
Catholic doctrine. He had been a disciple of that wonderful edu- 
cator of youth, St. Philip Neri; he was teacher and Latin secretary 
to St. Charles Borromeo, and it was at the latter's suggestion and 
under his inspiration that he wrote his splendid treatise on The 
Christian Education of Youth. In it he argues as follows: "The 
more closely the temporal power of a nation aligns itself with the 
spiritual, and the more it fosters and promotes the latter, by so 

39 1 

[908-909] PIUS xi 

much the more it contributes to the conservation of the common- 
wealth. For it is the aim of the ecclesiastical authority, by the use 
o spiritual means, to form good Christians in accordance with its 
own particular end and object; and in doing this it helps at the 
same time to form good citizens, and prepares them to meet their 
obligations as members of a civil society. This follows of necessity 
because in the City of God, the Holy Roman Catholic Church, a 
good citizen and an upright man are absolutely one and the same 
thing. How grave, therefore, is the error of those who separate 
things so closely united, and who think that they can produce good 
citizens by ways and methods other than those which make for the 
formation of good Christians. For, let human prudence say what 
it likes and reason as it pleases, it is impossible to produce true 
temporal peace and tranquillity by things repugnant or opposed to 
the peace and happiness of eternity." 123 

908. Parents, therefore, and all who take their place in the work 
of education, should be careful to make right use of the authority 
given them by God, Whose vicars, in a true sense, they are. This 
authority is not given for their own advantage, but for the proper 
up-bringing of their children in a holy and filial "fear of God, the 
beginning of wisdom," on which foundation alone all respect for 
authority can rest securely; and without which, order, tranquillity 
and prosperity, whether in the family or in society, will be im- 

909. And let no one say that in a nation where there are differ- 
ent religious beliefs, it is impossible to provide for public instruc- 
tion otherwise than by neutral or mixed schools. In such a case 
it becomes the duty of the State; indeed, it is the easier and more 
reasonable method of procedure, to^ leave free scope to the initiative 
of the Church and the family, while giving them such assistance 
as justice demands. That this can be done to the full satisfaction of 
families and to the advantage of education and of public peace and 
tranquillity, is clear from the actual experience of some countries 
comprising different religious denominations. There the school 
legislation respects the rights of the family and Catholics are free 
to follow their own system of teaching in schools that are entirely 
Catholic. Nor is distributive justice lost sight of, as is evidenced by 
the financial aid granted by the State to these schools 

123 Dell" Educazione Cristiana, bk. I, c. 43. 

39 2 

CI COMMUOVONO [910-912] 

LETTER Ci Commuovono Profondamente TO CARDINAL POMPILI, 

The Holy Father protests against the persecution in 

February 2, 1930 

910. We are profoundly moved by the horrible and criminal 
sacrileges which are repeated and increased every day against God 
and the souls of the innumerable population of Russia, all dear to 
Our heart on account of their great sufferings, and especially the 
many devout and generous sons of this Holy, Catholic, Apostolic, 
Roman Church found amongst them, devout and generous even 
unto heroism and martyrdom. 

911. From the beginning of Our Pontificate, following the 
example of Our Predecessor, We have multiplied Our efforts to 
arrest this terrible persecution and to avert the grave evils which 
threaten these peoples. We have also hastened to ask the represent- 
atives of the Governments assembled at Geneva to come to a com- 
mon agreement and declaration, which 'would have saved Russia 
and the world from many woes, proclaiming, as a previous condi- 
tion to any recognition of the Soviet Government, respect for con- 
science, liberty of worship and the property of the Church. 

912. Alas! these three points, useful above all to those ecclesi- 
astical hierarchies separated from Catholic unity, were abandoned 
in favor of temporal interests, which would have been better safe- 
guarded had the different Governments had regard also for all the 
rights of God, His kingdom and His justice. Our intervention 
was rejected which sought to save sacred vessels and icons from 
destruction and preserve them for their traditional use, things which 
formed a treasure of sacred art and piety dear to the hearts of all 
Russians; nevertheless, We had the happiness to secure the with- 
drawal of a capital process and succor the head of that hierarchy 
long withdrawn from Catholic unity, the Patriarch Tikhon, while 
the generous offerings of the Catholic world saved from starvation 
and a horrible death 150,000 children nourished daily by those sent 
by Us, until they were compelled to abandon this work of charity 
by those who preferred to see innocent children die rather than that 
they should be succored by Christian charity 

124 Translation from The Tablet, v. 155, p. 209 (February 15, 1930). Original Italian, 
A.A.S., v. 22, pp. 89-90 (February 22, 1930). 


[9i3"9 x 5] PIUS xi 


DINALS. 125 

It is impossible for peace to rule among men so long as 
they turn avidly in search of material things. 

December 24, 1930 

913 And now, Venerable Brothers and most Beloved 

Sons, Our wish to you, inspired in Our heart and placed on Our 
tongue by the solemn and dear feast which We are once again 
preparing to celebrate: "Peace on earth." It is a wish come from 
heaven and first sung by the angels over the cradle of the new-born 
Eternal King, Who came on earth to bring peace between men and 
God, between men and men, sacrificing Himself for all, calling 
back everyone to the Universal Divine Fatherhood and the Uni- 
versal Human Brotherhood, to the idea and practice of fraternal 
charity, to a just valuation of and detachment from earthly things, 
to the search, first and foremost, for spiritual things. 

914. What wish could be more timely or more attuned to the 
universal call for peace, peace? And for this very reason, Our wish 
is addressed not only to you but to all the world. To all the world 
because Christ came to save all, but especially to all the beloved 
sons of the great Catholic family of the Church which Christ came 
to found. It is the peace brought by Christ, the Peace of Christ; 
and one is not with Christ and of Christ, save by being in the Catho- 
lic Church and with the Catholic Church: Ubi Ecclesia ibi Christus. 

915. Thereby Catholics are called not only to a wider and more 
perfect enjoyment of the Peace of Christ but to the strengthening 
and widening of the Kingdom of Christ, and, therefore, to the 
strengthening and widening of His peace through the manifold 
apostolate of word, deed and prayer, so easy to all and so powerful, 
yes, all powerful with God. The glory and the duty of this aposto- 
late of peace belong principally to Us and to all called to be min- 
isters of the God of Peace. But here is a vast and glorious field for 
all the Catholic laity, too, whom We unceasingly call upon and ask 
to share in the hierarchical apostolate. To Catholics of all the world 
and particularly those who study, labor and pray in Catholic Action, 

125 Translation from Appeals for Peace of Pope Benedict XV and Pope Pius XI 
(C.A.IJ*. pamphlet), pp. 8-ir. Original Italian, A.A., v. 22, pp. 533-536 
(December 31, 1930). 



We turn to-day with this warm invitation and plea. May they all 
unite in the Peace of Christ and for the Peace of Christ in a full 
concord of thoughts and emotions, of desires and prayers, of deeds 
and words the spoken word, the written word, the printed word 
and then an atmosphere of genuine peace, warming and beneficent, 
will envelop all the world. 

916. But We wish you the "Peace of Christ," not a sentimental, 
confused, unwise pacifism, because that only is true peace that 
comes from God and that bears the essential and indispensable 
marks and priceless fruits of true peace. The Church, incomparable 
teacher, called this to mind a few days ago in enclosing within the 
sacredness of the Divine Sacrifice those beautiful and profound 
words of the Apostle of the Gentiles: And the Peace of God, which 
surpasseth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Jesus 

917. The Peace of Christ, the true peace, transcends, therefore, 
the senses. It is a grave error to believe that true and lasting peace 
can rule among men and among peoples so long as they turn first 
and foremost and avidly in search of sensible, material, earthly 
things. These being limited, can with difficulty satisfy all, even if 
no one (which is hard to imagine) should wish to take the lion's 
share. They are necessarily unsatisfying because the greater the 
number of sharers, the smaller the share of each. Whence they are, 
almost inevitably, sources of discord and opposition as they are of 
greed and envy. The contrary is true of spiritual treasures truth, 
goodness, virtue which the more widely they are shared, the more 
they abound and give fruit to the advantage of each and of all. 

918. Another error, against which the apostolic word, divinely 
inspired, wishes to fortify us, is that of supposing that true external 
peace can reign between men and peoples where there is not in- 
ternal peace, where, that is to say, the spirit of peace does not possess 
the intelligence and hearts, or better, the souls of men the intelli- 
gence so as to recognize and respect the claims of justice, the hearts 
so that charity may be joined to and even prevail over justice. For 
if peace, according to the prophet, must be the work and fruit of 
justice/ 27 it belongs, as St. Thomas luminously teaches, 128 and this 

s, XXXII, 17. 
128 Summa Theologica, *a, 2ae, q. 29, 0.3 ad sum. 


[919-922] PIUS xi 

is true, by the very nature of things, more to charity than to justice. 

919. It is, however, difficult for the internal peace of minds and 
hearts to rule lastingly among citizens and social classes if a strong 
sense of contrast arises and is maintained among them by an un- 
equal distribution and proportion of benefits and burdens, of rights 
and duties, of the contribution made by capital, management and 
labor and of the participation in those fruits which can be produced 
only by their friendly collaboration. 

920. Even more difficult not to say impossible is it for peace 
to last between peoples and States if, in the place of true and gen- 
uine love of country, there rules and abounds a hard and selfish 
nationalism, which is the same as saying hatred and envy, in place 
of mutual desire for the good, distrust and suspicion in place of 
the confidence of brothers, competition and struggle in place of 
willing co-operation, ambition for hegemony and mastery in place 
of respect and care for the rights of all, even those of the weak and 
the small. 

921. It is totally impossible for peoples to possess and enjoy that 
tranquillity in order and freedom, which is the essence of peace, so 
long as they are beset at home and abroad by threats and dangers 
which are not balanced by sufficient measures and provisions for 
defense. And certainly threats and dangers are inseparable from 
anti-social and anti-religious propaganda; yet not with material 
defenses alone can they be scattered and conquered. 

922. As for threats of new wars, while the peoples of the world 
are still feeling so deeply the scourge of the last merciless war, We 
cannot believe they are real, because We are unable to believe any 
civilized State exists which would become so monstrously murderous 
and almost certainly suicidal, If We should everx only suspect the 
existence of such a State, We should turn to God with the inspired 
prayer of the Prophet-King, who indeed knew both war and vic- 
tory: Scatter Thou the nations that delight in wars? 2 * and the daily 
and universal prayer of the Church: "Give us peace!" 

129 Psalms, LXVII, 31. 





The purpose of Catholic Action is "The Peace of Christ 
in the Kingdom of Christ" 

February 4, 1931 

923 Because on various occasions We have treated 

about the nature, the end and the necessity of Catholic Action, 
especially in recent times, it does not seem necessary to insist more 
on this matter because We know that it is fully known. Permit Us, 
nevertheless, to recall that Catholic Action is nothing more than the 
help which the laity gives to the ecclesiastical hierarchy in the exer- 
cise of its apostolate and that Catholic Action was born together 
with the Church and has recently assumed new directions and new 
forms in order to satisfy more fully the necessities of the present 
times. And precisely because it is an apostolate, it does not procure 
only self-sanctification, though that is its necessary basis, but it also 
tends toward the greater sanctification of others by means of the 
organized action of Catholics, who, following in all things the 
directions imposed by the -hierarchy, valiantly help to spread the 
Kingdom of Christ among the nations. The end of Catholic Action 
is, therefore, very noble because it coincides with the very end of 
the Church: "The Peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ; Pax 
Christi in regno Christi" 


Pius XI lays bare the root of the existing social confu- 
sion and points the only way to sound restoration: 
namely, the Christian reform of morals. 

May 15, 1931 

924. Forty years have passed since Leo XIIFs peerless Encyclical, 
On the Condition of Workers, first saw the light, and the whole 
Catholic world, filled with grateful recollection, is undertaking to 

130 Original Spanish, Coleccidn de Encicticas y Otras Cartas, pp. 691-692. 

131 Translation from Two Basic Social Encyclicals. Original Latin, A.A.S., ,v. 23, pp. 

177-228 (June i, 1931). 


[925-926] PIUS xi 

commemorate it with befitting solemnity. Other Encyclicals of Our 
Predecessor had in a way prepared the path for that outstanding 
document and proof of pastoral care: namely, those on the family 
and the holy Sacrament of matrimony as the source of human 
society, 132 on the origin of civil authority 133 and its proper relations 
with the Church, 134 on the chief duties of Christian citizens, 135 
against the tenets of Socialism/ 36 against false teachings on human 
liberty, 137 and others of the same nature fully expressing the mind 
of Leo XIII. Yet the Encyclical, On the Condition of Workers, com- 
pared with the rest, had this special distinction that at a time when 
it was most opportune and actually necessary to do so, it laid down 
for all mankind the surest rules to solve aright that difficult prob- 
lem of human relations, called "the social question." 

925. For, toward the close of the nineteenth century, the new 
kind of economic life that had arisen and the new developments of 
industry had gone to the point in most countries that human society 
was clearly becoming divided more and more into two classes. One 
class, very small in number, was enjoying almost all the advantages 
which modern inventions so abundantly provided; the other, em- 
bracing the huge multitude of working people, oppressed by 
wretched poverty, was vainly seeking escape from the straits where- 
in it stood. 

926. Quite agreeable, of course, was this state of things to those 
who thought it, in their abundant riches, the result of inevitable 
economic laws and, accordingly, as if it were for charity to veil the 
violation of justice which lawmakers not only tolerated but at times 
sanctioned, wanted the whole care of supporting the poor commit- 
ted to charity alone. The workers, on the other hand, crushed by 
their hard lot, were barely enduring it and were refusing longer 
to bend their necks beneath so galling a yoke; and some of them, 
carried away by the heat of evil counsel, were seeking the overturn 
of everything, while others, whom Christian training restrained 
from such evil designs, stood firm in the judgment that much in 
this had to be wholly and speedily changed. The same feeling those 

132 Encyclical Arcanum, February 10, 1880. 

1SS Encyclical Diuturnum, June 29, 1881; cf. supra nn. 23-26. 

134 Encyclical Immortale Dei, November I, 1885; cf. supra nn. 52-67. 

135 Encyclical Sapientiae Christianae, January 10, 1890; cf. supra nn. 109-116. 

136 Encyclical Quod Apostotici Muneris f December 28, 1878; cf. supra nn. 17-18. 

137 Encyclical Liberia* Praestantissimiim , June 20, 1888; cf. supra nn. 89-99. 



many Catholics, both priests and laymen, shared, whom a truly 
wonderful chanty had long spurred on to relieve the unmerited 
poverty of the non-owning workers, and who could in no way 
convince themselves that so enormous and unjust an inequality in 
the distribution of this world's goods truly conforms to the designs 
of the all-wise Creator. 

927. Those men were, without question, sincerely seeking an 
immediate remedy for this lamentable disorganization of States 
and a secure safeguard against worse dangers. Yet such is the 
weakness of even the best of human minds that, now rejected as 
dangerous innovators, now hindered in the good work by their 
very associates, advocating other courses of action, and uncertain 
in the face of various opinions, they were at a loss which way to 

928. In such a sharp conflict of minds, therefore, while the 
question at issue was being argued this way and that, nor always 
with calmness, all eyes, as often before, turned to the Chair of 
Peter, to that sacred depository of all truth whence words of salva- 
tion pour forth to all the world. And to the feet of Christ's Vicar 
on earth were flocking, in unaccustomed numbers, men well versed 
in social questions, employers, and workers themselves, begging 
him with one voice to point out, finally, the safe road to them. 

929. The wise Pontiff long weighed all this in his mind before 
God; he summoned the most experienced and learned to counsel; 
he weighed the issues carefully and from every angle. At last, 
admonished "by the consciousness of His Apostolic Office" 138 lest 
silence on his part might be regarded as failure in his duty, 139 he 
decided, in virtue of the Divine Teaching Office entrusted to him, 
to address not only the whole Church of Christ but all mankind. 
Therefore, on the fifteenth day of May, 1891, that long-awaited voice 
thundered forth; neither daunted by the arduousness of the prob- 
lem nor weakened by age but with vigorous energy, it taught the 
whole human family to strike out in the social question upon new 

930. You know, Venerable Brethren and Beloved Children, 
and understand full well the wonderful teaching which has made 
the Encyclical, On the Condition of Workers, illustrious forever. 

138 Encyclical On the Condition of Workers, May 15, 1891, n, 119 in this book. 
., cf. n. 132 in this book. 


[93 I- 93 2 ] PIUS xi 

The Supreme Pastor in this Letter, grieving that so large a portion 
of mankind should "live undeservedly in miserable and wretched 
conditions/' 140 took it upon himself with great courage to defend 
"the cause of the workers whom the present age had handed over, 
each alone and defenseless, to the inhumanity of employers and the 
unbridled greed of competitors." 141 He sought no help from either 
Liberalism or Socialism, for the one had proved that it was utterly 
unable to solve the social problem aright, and the other,_ proposing 
a remedy far worse than the evil itself, would have plunged human 
society into greater dangers, 

931. Since a problem was being treated "for which no satis- 
factory solution" is found "unless religion and the Church have 
been called upon to aid," 142 the Pope, clearly exercising his right 
and correctly holding that the guardianship of religion and the 
stewardship over those things that are closely bound up with it 
had been entrusted especially to him and relying solely upon the 
unchangeable principles drawn from the treasury of right reason 
and Divine Revelation, confidently and as one having authority}^ 
declared and proclaimed "the rights and duties within which the 
rich and the proletariat those who furnish material things and 
those who furnish work ought to be restricted in relation to each 
other," 144 and what the Church, heads of States and the people them- 
selves directly concerned ought to do. 

932. The Apostolic voice did not thunder forth in vain. On the 
contrary, not only did the obedient children of the Church hearken 
to it with marveling admiration and hail it with the greatest ap- 
plause, but many also who were wandering far from the truth, 
from the unity of the Faith, and nearly all who since then, either 
in private study or in enacting legislation, have concerned them- 
selves with the social and economic question. Feeling themselves 
vindicated and defended by the Supreme Authority on earth, Chris- 
tian workers received this Encyclical with special joy. So, too, did 
all those noble-hearted men who, long solicitous for the improve- 
ment of the condition of the workers, had up to that time encoun- 
tered almost nothing but indifference from many, and even rankling 

140 Encyclical On the Condition of Workers, n. 121 in this book. 

141 Ibid., n. 121 in this book. 
^^Ibid., n. 132 in this book. 
^Matthew, VII, 29. 

144 Encyclical 'On the Condition of Workers, n, 120 in this book. 



suspicion, if not open hostility from some. Rightly, therefore, have 
all these groups constantly held the Apostolic Encyclical from that 
time in such high honor that to signify their gratitude they are 
wont, in various places and in various ways, to commemorate it 
every year. 

933. However, in spite of such great agreement, there were 
some who were no little disturbed; and so it happened that the 
teaching of Leo XIII, so noble and lofty and so utterly new to 
worldly ears, was held suspect by some, even among Catholics, and 
to certain ones it even gave offense. For it boldly attacked and 
over-turned the idols of Liberalism, ignored long-standing preju- 
dices, and was in advance of its time beyond all expectation, so 
that the slow of heart disdained to study this new social philosophy 
and the timid feared to scale so lofty a height. There were some 
also who stood, indeed, in awe at its splendor, but regarded it as 
a kind of imaginary ideal of perfection more desirable than attain- 

934. Venerable Brethren and Beloved Children, as all every- 
where, and especially Catholic workers who are pouring from all 
sides into this Holy City, are celebrating with such enthusiasm the 
solemn commemoration of the fortieth anniversary of the Encyclical 
On the Condition of Workers, We deem it fitting on this occasion 
to recall the great benefits this Encyclical has brought to the Catho- 
lic Church and to all human society; to defend the illustrious 
master's doctrine on the social and economic question against cer- 

. tain doubts and to develop it more fully as to some points; and 
lastly, summoning to court the contemporary economic regime and 
passing judgment on Socialism, to lay bare the root of the existing 
social confusion and at the same time point the only way to sound 
restoration: namely, the Christian reform of morals. All these mat- 
ters which We undertake to treat will fall under three main 
headings, and this entire Encyclical will be devoted to their develop- 

935. To begin with the topic which We have proposed first to 
discuss, We cannot refrain, following the counsel of St. Ambrose, 145 
who says that "no duty is more important than that of returning 
thanks," from offering Our fullest gratitude to Almighty God for 
the immense benefits that have come through Leo's Encyclical to 

145 St. Ambrose, De Excefsu Fratris Sui Satyri, I, 44. 


[936-937] PIUS xi 

the Church and to human society. If indeed We should wish to 
review these benefits even cursorily, almost the whole history of the 
social question during the last forty years would have to be re- 
called to mind. These benefits can be reduced conveniently, how- 
ever, to three main points, corresponding to the three kinds of help 
which Our Predecessor ardently desired for the accomplishment of 
his great work of restoration. 

936. In the first place, Leo himself clearly stated what ought to 
be expected from the Church: 146 "Manifestly it is the Church which 
draws from the Gospel the teachings through which the struggle 
can be composed entirely, or, after its bitterness is removed, can 
certainly become more tempered. It is the Church, again, that 
strives not only to instruct the mind, but to regulate by her precepts 
the life and morals of individuals, and that ameliorates the condition 
of the workers through her numerous and beneficent institutions.'' 

937. The Church did not let these rich fountains lie quiescent 
in her bosom, but from them drew copiously for the common good 
of the longed-for peace. Leo himself and his Successors, showing 
paternal charity and pastoral constancy always, in defense especially 
of the poor and the weak, 147 proclaimed and urged without ceasing 
again and again by voice and pen the teaching on the social and 
economic question which On the Condition of Workers presented, 
and adapted it fittingly to the needs of time and of circumstance. 
And many bishops have done the same, who in their continual and 
able interpretation of this same teaching have illustrated it with 
commentaries and, in accordance with the mind and instructions of 
the Holy See, provided for its application to the conditions and in- 
stitutions of diverse regions. 148 It is not surprising, therefore, that 
many scholars, both priests and laymen, led especially by the desire 
that the unchanged and unchangeable teaching of the Church 
should meet new demands and needs more effectively, have zeal- 

14S Encyclical On the Condition of Workers, n. 133 in this book. 

UT Let it be sufficient to mention some of these only: Leo XIII's Apostolic Letter 
Praeclara Gratulationis, June 20, 1894, cf. supra nn. 191-193; and his Encyclical 
Graves de Communi, January i#, 1901 ; Pius X's Motu Proprio DC Actione Populari 
Christiana, December 8, 1903; Benedict XV's Encyclical Ad "Bcatissimi, November 
i, 1914, cf, supra 280-297; Pius XTs Encyclical Ubi Arcano Dei, December 23, 
1922, cf. supra 758-823; and his Encyclical Rite Expiatis, April 30, 1926. 

148 Cf. La Hierarchic Catholique et le Pro hi erne Social Depuis VEncy clique "Rerum 
Novaruin" 1891-1931, pp. xvi-335: ed. "Union Internationale d'Etudes Sociales 
fondee a Malines, en 1920, sous la presidence du Card. Mercier." Paris, Edition 
Spes, 1931. 


ously undertaken to develop, with the Church as their guide and 
teacher, a social and economic science in accord with the condi- 
tions of our time. 

938. And so, with Leo's Encyclical pointing the way and fur- 
nishing the light, a true Catholic social science has arisen, which 
is daily fostered and enriched by the tireless efforts of those chosen 
men whom We have termed auxiliaries of the Church. They do 
not, indeed, allow their science to lie hidden behind learned walls. 
As the useful and well-attended courses instituted in Catholic uni- 
versities, colleges and seminaries, the social congresses and "Weeks" 
that are held at frequent intervals with mos,t successful results, the 
study groups that are promoted, and finally the timely and sound 
publications that are disseminated everywhere and in every possible 
way, clearly show, these men bring their science out into the full 
light and stress of life. 

939. Nor is the benefit that has poured forth from Leo's Ency- 
clical confined within these bounds; for the teaching which On the 
Condition op Workers contains has , gradually and imperceptibly 
worked its way into the minds of those outside Catholic unity who 
do not recognize the authority of the Church. Catholic principles 
on the social question have, as a result, passed little by little into 
the patrimony of all human society, and We rejoice that the eternal 
truths which Our Predecessor of glorious memory proclaimed so 
impressively have been frequently invoked and defended not only 
in non-Catholic books and journals but in legislative halls also and 
courts of justice. 

940. Furthermore, after the terrible war, when the statesmen of 
the leading nations were attempting to restore peace on the basis 
of a thorough reform of social conditions, did not they, among the 
norms agreed upon to regulate in accordance with justice and 
equity the labor of the workers, give sanction to many points that 
so remarkably coincide with Leo's principles and instructions as to 
seem consciously taken therefrom? The Encyclical On the Condi- 
tion of Workers, without question, has become a memorable docu- 
ment and rightly to it may be applied the words of Isaias: He shall 
set up a standard to the nations. 1 * 

941. Meanwhile, as Leo's teachings were being widely diffused 
in die minds of men, with learned investigations leading the way, 


[942-943] PIUS xi 

they have come to be put into practice. In the first place, zealous 
efforts have been made, with active good-will, to lift up that class 
which, on account of the modern expansion of industry, had in- 
creased to enormous numbers but not yet had obtained its rightful 
place or rank in human society and was, for that reason, all but 
neglected and despised the workers, We mean to whose improve- 
ment, to the great advantage of souls, the diocesan and regular 
clergy, though burdened with other pastoral duties, have, under 
the leadership of the bishops, devoted themselves. This constant 
work, undertaken to fill the workers' souls with the Christian 
spirit, helped much also to make them conscious of their true dig- 
nity and render them capable, by placing clearly before them the 
rights and duties of their class, of legitimately and happily advanc- 
ing and even of becoming leaders of their fellows. 

942. From that time on, fuller means of livelihood have been 
more securely obtained; for not only did works of beneficence and 
charity begin to multiply at the urging of the Pontiff, but there 
have also been established everywhere new and continuously ex- 
panding organizations in which workers, craftsmen, farmers and 
employees of every kind, with the counsel of the Church and fre- 
quently under the leadership of her priests, give and receive mutual 
help and support. 

943. With regard to civil authority, Leo XIII, boldly breaking 
through the confines imposed by Liberalism, fearlessly taught that 
government must not be thought a mere guardian of law and of 
good order, but rather must put forth every effort so that "through 
the entire scheme of laws and institutions . . . both public and 
individual well-being may develop spontaneously out of the very 
structure and administration of the State." 150 Just freedom of action 
must, of course, be left both to individual citizens and to families, 
yet only on condition that the common good be preserved and 
wrong to any individual be abolished. The function of the rulers 
of the State, moreover, is to watch over the community and its 
parts; but in protecting private individuals in their rights, chief 
consideration ought to be given to the weak and the poor. "For the 
nation, as it were, of the rich is guarded by its own defenses and 
is in less need of governmental protection, whereas the suffering 
multitude, without the means to protect itself, relies especially on 

150 Encyclical On the Condition of Workers, n. 145 in this book. 



the protection of the State. Wherefore, since wage-workers are 
numbered among the great mass of the needy, the State must in- 
clude them under its special care and foresight." 1 * 51 

944. We, of course, do not deny that even before the Encyclical 
of Leo, some rulers of peoples had provided for certain of the more 
urgent needs of the workers and curbed more flagrant acts of in- 
justice inflicted upon them. But after the Apostolic voice had 
sounded from the Chair of Peter throughout the world, rulers of 
nations, more fully alive at last to their duty, devoted their minds 
and attention to the task of promoting a more comprehensive and 
fruitful social policy. 

945. And while the principles of Liberalism were tottering, 
which had long prevented effective action by those governing the 
State, the Encyclical On the Condition of Workers in truth im- 
pelled peoples themselves to promote a social policy on truer 
grounds and with greater intensity, and so strongly encouraged 
good Catholics to furnish valuable help to heads of States in this 
field that they often stood forth as illustrious champions of this 
new policy even in legislatures. Sacred ministers of the Church, 
thoroughly imbued with Leo's teaching, have, in fact, often pro- 
posed to the votes of the peoples' representatives the very social 
legislation that has been enacted in recent years and resolutely de- 
manded and promoted its enforcement. 

946. A new branch of law, wholly unknown to the earlier 
time, has arisen from this continuous and unwearied labor to pro- 
tect vigorously the sacred rights of the workers that flow from 
their dignity as men and as Christians. These laws undertake the 
protection of life, health, strength, family, homes, workshops, wages 
and labor hazards, in fine, everything which pertains to the con- 
dition of wage workers, with special concern for women and chil- 
dren. Even though these laws do not conform exactly, everywhere 
and in all respects, to Leo's recommendations, still it is undeniable 
that much in them savors of the Encyclical On the Condition of 
Workers to which great credit must be given for whatever im- 
provement has been achieved in the workers' condition. 

947. Finally, the wise Pontiff showed that "employers and work- 
ers themselves can accomplish much in this matter, manifestly 
through those institutions by the help of which the poor are oppor- 

151 Encyclical On the Condition of Workers, B. 150 in this book. 


[948-95] PIUS xi 

timely assisted and the two classes o society are brought closer to 
each other." 152 First place among these institutions, he declares, 
must be assigned to associations that embrace either workers alone 
or workers and employers together. He goes into considerable 
detail in explaining and commending these associations and ex- 
pounds with a truly wonderful wisdom their nature, purpose, time- 
liness, rights, duties and regulations. 

948. These teachings were issued indeed most opportunely. For 
at that time, in many nations, those at the helm of State, plainly 
imbued with Liberalism, were showing little favor to workers' 
associations of this type; nay, they rather openly opposed them, and 
while going out of their way to recognize similar organizations of 
other classes and show favor to them, they were, with criminal 
injustice, denying the natural right to form associations to those who 
needed them most to defend themselves from ill treatment at the 
hands of the powerful. There were even some Catholics who 
looked askance at the efforts of workers to form associations of 
this type as if they smacked of a socialistic or revolutionary spirit. 

949. The rules, therefore, which Leo XIII issued in virtue of 
his authority, deserve the greatest praise in that they have been able 
to break down this hostility and dispel these suspicions; but they 
have even a higher claim to distinction in that they encouraged 
Christian workers to found mutual associations according to their 
various occupations, taught them how to do so, and resolutely con- 
firmed in the path of duty a goodly number of those whom So- 
cialist organizations strongly attracted by claiming to be the sole 
defenders and champions of the lowly and oppressed. 

950. With respect to the founding of these societies, the Encycli- 
cal On the Condition of Workers most fittingly declared that "work- 
ers' associations ought to be so constituted and so governed as to fur- 
nish the most suitable and most convenient means to attain the object 
proposed, which consists in this, that the individual members of 
the association secure, so far as is possible, an increase in the goods 
of .the body, of the soul and of property." 153 Yet it is clear that 
"the improvement of religion and morals ought to be regarded as 
their principal concern, as it were, and that their social organization 
as such ought to be, above all, directed completely by this concern." 

152 Encyclical On the Condition of Workers, n. 162 in this book. 

153 Encyclical On the Condition of Workers, n. 170 in this book. 



For "when the regulations of associations are founded upon religion, 
the way is easy toward establishing the mutual relations of the 
members, so that peaceful living together and prosperity will 
result" 154 

951. To the founding of these associations the clergy and many 
of the laity devoted themselves everywhere with truly praiseworthy 
zeal, eager to bring Leo's program to full realization. Thus associa- 
tions of this kind have molded truly Christian workers who, in 
combining harmoniously the diligent practice of their occupation 
with the salutary precepts of religion, protect effectively and reso- 
lutely their own temporal interests and rights, keeping a due re- 
spect for justice and a genuine desire to work together with other 
classes of society for the Christian renewal of all social life. 

952. These counsels and instructions of Leo XIII were put into 
effect differently in different places according to varied local con- 
ditions. In some places one and the same association undertook to 
attain all the ends laid down by the Pontiff; in others, because 
circumstances suggested or required it, a division of work developed 
and separate associations were formed. Of these, some devoted 
themselves to the defense of the rights and legitimate interests of 
their members in the labor market; others took over the work of 
providing mutual economic aid; finally, still others gave all their 
attention to the fulfillment of religious and moral duties and other 
obligations of like nature. 

953. This second method has especially been adopted where 
either the laws of a country, or certain special economic institutions, 
or that deplorable dissension of minds and hearts, so widespread 
in contemporary society, and an urgent necessity of combating with 
united purpose and strength the massed ranks of revolutionarists, 
have prevented Catholics from founding purely Catholic labor 
unions. Under these conditions, Catholics seem almost forced to 
join secular labor unions. These unions, however, should always 
profess justice and equity and give Catholic members full freedom 
to care for their own conscience and obey the laws of the Church. 
It is clearly the office of bishops, when they know that these associa- 
tions are, on account of circumstances, necessary and are not danger- 
ous to religion, to approve of Catholic workers joining them, 
keeping before their eyes, however, the principles and precautions 

154 Encyclical On the Condition of Workers, n. 171' in this book. 

[954-957] PIUS xi 

laid down by Our Predecessor, Pius X o holy memory. 155 Among 
these precautions the first and chief is this: side by side with these 
unions there should always be associations zealously engaged in 
imbuing and forming their members in the teaching of religion 
and morality so that they in turn may be able to permeate the 
unions with that good spirit which should direct them in all their 
activity. As a result, the religious associations will bear good fruit 
even beyond the circle of their own membership. 

954. To the Encyclical of Leo, therefore, must be given this 
credit, that these associations of workers have so flourished every- 
where that while, alas, still surpassed in numbers by Socialist and 
Communist organizations, they already embrace a vast multitude 
of workers and are able, within the confines of each nation, as well 
as in wider assemblies, to maintain vigorously the rights and legiti- 
mate demands of Catholic workers and insist also on the salutary 
Christiarl principles of society. 

955. Leo's learned treatment and vigorous defense of the nat- 
ural right to form associations began, furthermore, to find ready 
application to other associations also and not alone to those of the 
workers. Hence, no small part of the credit must, it seems, be given 
to this same Encyclical of Leo for the fact that among farmers and 
others of the middle class most useful associations of this kind are 
seen flourishing to a notable degree and increasing day by day, and 
other institutions of a similar nature in which spiritual development 
and economic benefit are happily combined, 

956. But if this cannot be said of organizations which Our 
same Predecessor intensely desired established among employers 
and managers of industry and We certainly regret that they are 
so few the condition is not wholly due to the will of men but to 
far graver difficulties that hinder associations of this kind which We 
know well and estimate at their full value. There is, however, 
strong hope that these obstacles also will be removed soon, and 
even now We greet with the deepest joy of Our soul, certain by 
no means insignificant attempts in this direction, the rich fruits 
of which promise a still richer harvest in the future. 156 

957. All these benefits of Leo's Encyclical, Venerable Brethren 

155 Pius X, Encyclical Singulari Quadam, September 24, 1912. 

156 Cf, Letter of the Sacred Congregation of the Council to the Bishop of Lille, 

June 5, 1929. 



and Beloved Children, which We have outlined rather than fully 
described, are so numerous and of such import as to show plainly 
that this immortal document does not exhibit a merely fanciful, 
even if beautiful, ideal of human society. Rather did Our Pred- 
ecessor draw from the Gospel and, therefore, from an ever-living 
and life-giving fountain, teachings capable of greatly mitigating, 
if riot immediately terminating that deadly internal struggle which 
is rending the family of mankind. The rich fruits which the 
Church of Christ and the whole human race have, by God's favor, 
reaped therefrom unto salvation, prove that some of this good seed, 
so lavishly sown forty years ago, fell on good ground. On the 
basis of the long period of experience, it cannot be rash to say that 
Leo's Encyclical has proved itself the Magna Charta upon which 
all Christian activity in the social field ought to be based, as on a 
foundation. And those who would seem to hold in little esteem this 
Papal Encyclical and its commemoration, either blaspheme what 
they know not, or understand nothing of what they are only super- 
ficially acquainted with, or, if they do understand, convict them- 
selves formally of injustice and ingratitude. 

958. Yet since, in the course of these same years, certain doubts 
have arisen concerning either the correct meaning of some parts of 
Leo's Encyclical or conclusions to be deduced therefrom, which 
doubts in turn have even among Catholics given rise to controversies 
that are not always peaceful; and since, furthermore, new needs and 
changed conditions of our age have made necessary a more precise 
application of Leo's teaching or even certain additions thereto, We 
most gladly seize this fitting occasion, in accord with Our Apostolic 
Office, through which We are debtors to all, 157 to answer, so far as in 
Us lies, these doubts and these demands of the present day. 

959. Yet before proceeding to explain these matters, that prin- 
ciple which Leo XIII so clearly established must be laid down at 
the outset here, namely, that there resides in Us the right and duty 
to pronounce with supreme authority upon social and economic 
matters. 158 Certainly the Church was not given the commission to 
guide men to an only fleeting and perishable happiness but to that 
which is eternal. Indeed "the Church holds that it is unlawful for 

157 Cf. Romans, I, 14. 

158 Cf. Encyclical On the Condition of Workers, an. 124 and 125 in this book. 


[960-962] PI' us xi 

her to mix without cause in these temporal concerns;" 159 however, 
she can in no wise renounce the duty God entrusted to her to 
interpose her authority, not, of course, in matters of technique for 
which she is neither suitably equipped nor endowed by office, but 
in all things that are connected with the moral law. For as to 
these, the deposit of truth that God committed to Us and the grave 
duty of disseminating and interpreting the whole moral law, and 
of urging it in season and out of season, bring under and subject 
to Our supreme jurisdiction not only social order but economic 
activities themselves. 

960. Even though economics and moral science employs each 
its own principles in its own sphere, it is, nevertheless, an error to 
say that the economic and moral orders are so distinct from and 
alien to each other that the former depends in no way on the 
latter. Certainly the laws of economics, as they are termed, being 
based on the very nature of material things and on -the capacities 
of the human body and mind, determine the limits which productive 
human effort cannot, and which it can attain in the economic field 
and by what means. Yet it is reason itself that clearly shows, on 
the basis of the individual and social nature of things and of men, 
the purpose which God ordained for all economic life. 

961. But it is only the moral law which, just as it commands 
us to seek our supreme and last end in the whole scheme of our 
activity, so likewise commands us to seek directly in each kind of 
activity those purposes which we know that nature, or rather God, 
the Author o nature, established for that kind of action, and in 
orderly relationship subordinate such immediate purposes to our 
supreme and last end. If we faithfully observe this law, then it will 
follow that the particular purposes, both individual and social, that 
are sought in the economic field will fall in their proper place in 
the universal order of purposes, and we, in ascending through 
them, as it were, by steps, shall attain the final end of all things, 
that is, God, to Himself and to us, the Supreme and Inexhaustible 

962. But to come down to particular points, We shall begin 
with ownership or the right of property. Venerable Brethren and 
Beloved Children, you know that Our Predecessor of happy mem- 
ory strongly defended the right of property against the tenets of 

159 Pius XI, Encyclical Ubi Arcane Dei, December 23, 1922; cf. supra n. 815. 



the Socialists of his time by showing that its abolition would result, 
not to the advantage of the working class, but to their extreme 
harm. Yet sirlce there are some who calumniate the Supreme Pon- 
tiff and the Church herself, as if she had taken and were still taking 
the part of the rich against the non-owning workers certainly no 
accusation is more unjust than that and since Catholics are at 
variance with one another concerning the true and exact mind of 
Leo, it has seemed best to vindicate this, that is, the Catholic teach- 
ing on this matter, from calumnies and safeguard it from false 

963. First, then, let it be considered as certain and established 
that neither Leo nor those theologians who have taught under the 
guidance and authority of the Church have ever denied or ques- 
tioned the twofold character of ownership, called usually individual 
or social according as it regards either separate persons or the com- 
mon good. For they have always unanimously maintained that 
nature, rather the Creator Himself, has given man the right of 
private ownership not only that individuals may be able to provide 
for themselves and their families but also that the goods which the 
Creator destined for the entire family of mankind may, through 
this institution, truly serve this purpose. All this can be achieved 
in no wise except through the maintenance of a certain and definite 

964. Accordingly, twin rocks of shipwreck must be carefully 
avoided. For, as one is wrecked upon, or comes close to, what is 
known as "individualism" by denying or minimizing the social 
and public character of the right of property, so by rejecting or 
minimizing the private and individual character of this same right, 
one inevitably runs into "collectivism" or at least closely approaches 
its tenets. Unless this is kept in mind, one is swept from his course 
upon the shoals of that moral, juridical and social modernism which 
We denounced in the Encyclical issued at the beginning of Our 
Pontificate. 160 And, in particular, let those realize this who, in their 
desire for innovation, do not scruple to reproach the Church with 
infamous calumnies, as if she had allowed to creep into the teach- 
ings of her theologians, a pagan concept of ownership which must 
be completely replaced by another tihat they, with amazing igno- 
rance, call "Christian." 

160 Pius XI, Encyclical Vbi Arcano Dei, December 23, 1922; cf. supra nn. 758-823. 

[965-967] PIUS xi 

965. In order to place definite limits on the controversies that 
have arisen over ownership and its inherent duties, there must be 
first laid down as a foundation a principle established* by Leo XIII: 
the right o property is distinct from its use. 101 That justice called 
commutative commands sacred respect for the division of posses- 
sions and forbids invasion of others' rights through the exceeding 
of the limits of one's own property; but the duty of owners to use 
their property only in a right way does not come under this type 
of justice, but under other virtues, obligations of which "cannot be 
enforced by legal action." 162 Therefore, they are in error who assert 
that ownership and its right use are limited by the same boundaries; 
and it is much farther still from the truth to hold that a right to 
property is destroyed or lost by reason of abuse or non-use. 

966. Those, therefore, are doing a work that is truly salutary 
and worthy of all praise who, while preserving harmony among 
themselves and the integrity of the traditional teaching of the 
Church, seek to define the inner nature of these duties and their 
limits whereby either the right of property itself or its use, that is, 
the exercise of ownership, is circumscribed by the necessities of 
social living. On the other hand, those who seek to restrict the 
individual character of ownership to such a degree that, in fact, 
they destroy it, are mistaken and in error. 

967. It follows from what We have termed the individual and 
at die same time social character of ownership, that men must con- 
sider in this matter not only their own advantage but also the 
common good. To define these duties in detail, when necessity 
requires and the natural law has not done so, is the function of 
those in charge of the State. Therefore, public authority, under the 
guiding light always of the natural and divine law, can determine 
more accurately upon consideration of the true requirements of the 
common good, what is permitted and what is not permitted to 
owners in the use of their property. Moreover, Leo XIII wisely 
taught "that God has left the limits of private possessions to be 
fixed by the industry of men and institutions of peoples." 163 That 
history proves ownership, like other elements of social life, to be 
not absolutely unchanging, We once declared as follows: "What 

181 Encyclical On the Condition of Workers, n. 137 in this book. 

162 Encyclical On the Condition of Workers, n. 137 in this book. 

163 Encyclical On the Condition of Workers; this part is not included in this book. 



diverse forms has property had, from that primitive form among 
rude and savage peoples, which may be observed in some places 
even in our time, to the form of possession in the patriarchal age; 
and so further to the various forms under tyranny (We are using 
the word tyranny in its classical sense); and then through the 
feudal and monarchic forms down to the various types which are 
to be found in more recent times!" 164 That the State is not per- 
mitted to discharge its duty arbitrarily is, however, clear. The 
natural right itself both of owning goods privately and of passing 
them on by inheritance ought always to remain intact and inviolate,, 
since this indeed is a right that the State cannot take away: "For 
man is older than the State," 165 and also "domestic living together 
is prior both in thought and in fact to uniting into a polity." 166 
Wherefore the wise Pontiff declared that it is grossly unjust for a 
State to exhaust private wealth through the weight of imposts and 
taxes. "For since the right of possessing goods privately has been 
conferred not by man's law, but by nature, public authority cannot 
abolish it, but can only control its exercise and bring it into con- 
formity with the common weal." 167 Yet when the State brings 
private ownership into harmony with the needs of the common 
good, it does not commit a hostile act against private owners but 
rather does them a friendly service; for it thereby effectively pre- 
vents the private possession of goods, which the' Author of nature, 
in His most wise providence, ordained for the support of human 
life, from causing intolerable evils and thus rushing to its own 
destruction; it does not destroy private possessions, but safeguards 
them; and it does not weaken private property rights, but strength- 
ens them. 

968. Furthermore, a person's superfluous income, that is, in- 
come which he does not need to sustain life fittingly and with 
dignity, is not left wholly to his own free determination. Rather, 
the Sacred Scriptures and the Fathers of the Church constantly 
declare in the most explicit language that the rich are bound by a 
very grave precept to practice almsgiving, beneficence and munifi- 
cence. Expending larger incomes so that opportunity for gainful 
work may be abundant, provided, however, that this work is ap- 

1S4 Allocution to the Convention of Italian Catholic Action, May 16, 1926. 

165 Encyclical On the Condition of Workers; this part is not included in this book. 

166 Encyclical On the Condition of Workers, n. 128 in this book. 

167 Encyclical On the Condition of Workers, n. 161 in this book. 


[969-97] PIUS xi 

plied to producing really useful goods, ought to be considered, as 
We deduce from the principles of the Angdic Doctor, 168 an out- 
standing exemplification of the virtue of munificence and one 
particularly suited to the needs of the times. 

969. That ownership is originally acquired both by occupancy 
of a thing not owned by any one and by labor, or, as is said, by 
specification, the tradition of all ages as well as the teaching of Our 
Predecessor, Leo, clearly testify. For, whatever some idly say to 
the contrary, no injury is done to any person when a thing is 
occupied that is available to all but belongs to no one; however, 
only that labor which a man performs in his own name and by 
virtue of which a new form or increase has been given to a thing 
grants him title to these fruits. 

970. Far different is the nature of work that is hired out to 
others an